US monkey importer faces cruelty charges
27 March 2012, 12:06
Los Angeles - A US importer of research monkeys is set to stand trial on
cruelty charges after 15 primates died during an international flight.
Matson Conyers, a Florida animal broker, faces 10 counts involving a
2008 plane trip from Guyana. Officials say Conyers was shipping 25
monkeys to a buyer in Bangkok, but the shipment was refused transit in
China and returned to Los Angeles.
The monkeys wound up on a
circuitous trip across thousands of kilometres with stops in Bangkok,
Miami and twice in Los Angeles. They suffered from neglect, starvation
and hypothermia in transit, authorities say, and 15 eventually died.
marmosets, five white-fronted capuchins and six squirrel monkeys were
turned back in China over paperwork issues such as irregularities in the
Officials in Los Angeles found 14 of the 25 monkeys packed into crates were dead.
Angeles Zoo veterinarians administered emergency care to the survivors,
but a capuchin had to be euthanized. The rest are recovering at the San
Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park.
The advocacy group Stop Animal
Cruelty Now said the monkeys were dehydrated and resorted to cannibalism
during their long journey.
Once the story of the monkeys' flight was reported, monkey imports to Los Angeles were halted.
advocacy group said the US is the largest importer of monkeys coming
from the Philippines, Indonesia, Guyana and Kenya. Most are destined for
Conyers could face up to six months in jail and a $20 000 fine if convicted.