US to build world's largest cavia macaques farm

The news has sparked anger and concern from animal rights groups and animal welfare groups in Georgia

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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US to build world's largest cavia macaques farm
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United States is about to build the largest cavia macaques farm in Georgia. The news has sparked anger and concern from animal rights groups and animal welfare groups in Georgia.

Safer Human Medicine (SHM) wants to build the 200-acre complex in Bainbridge, a small town in Decatur County, Georgia of about 14,000 people. The Bainbridge City Council provided significant tax breaks for the project to proceed on the site.

The complex will house around 30,000 macaques, double the human population of the local city, which will be sold to universities and pharmaceutical companies for drug testing and biomedical research.

SMH has defended its plan to build the facility in Bainbridge, claiming it will invest $270 million in local infrastructure and create up to 250 new jobs in the area. In an open letter to local residents, the company answers several questions people might have about the facility.

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US to build world's largest cavia macaques farm

PETA said Bainbridge residents filed a complaint on Feb. 15 against the City of Bainbridge and other local authorities for approving the controversial plan.

Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, primatologist and senior science advisor to PETA, explained: "In an effort to attract some jobs, many of them low-wage and at risk of exposure to zoonotic diseases, city and county officials have drawn up the red carpet for an unethical plan by some questionable characters that could lead to an ecological disaster and potentially spark the next pandemic. PETA urges Bainbridge officials to withdraw their support and shut down this project before a shovel hits the ground."

Johnny Reynolds, who lives just yards from where the structure is planned to be built, explained: "When I first heard it I worried about myself, what it would do to the value of my property, what it would do to our health, and then suddenly it wasn't just about me. It was really about all these people in this area."

"I don't think anyone would want to have 30,000 monkeys next to their house," added David Barber, who lives just 400 feet from the site where the facility is planned to be built.