At first glance, it seems odd that residents of Guayama, Puerto Rico, would object so strenuously to the construction of a new monkey-breeding facility—especially since, as opponents make clear, they don’t have a moral problem with vivisection. They’re instead spooked by the prospect of escapees.
“What’s the big deal?” you might ask. After all, it’s not like Bioculture Mauritius Ltd. is planning to breed super-intelligent mako sharks. But you have to realize that Puerto Rico has an ugly history with fugitive monkeys:
Authorities in Puerto Rico have resorted to shooting monkeys they catch that belong to an estimated population of 1,000 running around the Lajas Valley in the island’s southwest region.
The monkeys arrived in the 1960s and ’70s after escaping labs on nearby islands. They are blamed for causing nearly $300,000 in damage each year as they plunder crops such as pineapples and melons.
Puerto Rico is so anxious to get rid of those runaway primates that officials sent a group of them to a zoo in Iraq earlier this year.
More on Lajas’s war on the unfortunate (albeit destructive) monkeys here.