The biomedical firm Charles River Laboratories had purchased two square kilometers of land in Brazoria County in Houston.

The company plans to house approximately 43,200 monkeys in the facility it will build there. 

The biomedical company, based in Massachusetts, sells monkeys to pharmaceutical companies, universities and biotechnology companies for research.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the company has specialized facilities in 6 states where a total of 19,000 monkeys are kept.

However, the company's planned new facility is drawing backlash from local residents who fear it will lower land values and cause an epidemic. 


An integral part of biomedical research, primates have played important roles in understanding diseases, developing drugs and even testing COVID-19 vaccines.

But potential new neighbors argue that the real risks, including concerns about the spread of disease and waste management, outweigh the benefits of scientific advances. 

Residents contacted the Houston Zoo and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in September to block the company's project.

PETA sent messages to more than 4,000 people, including residents and officials, asking them not to allow the company's facility project.

PETA's Lisa Jones-Engel said that in addition to the risk of an epidemic, such a facility would contaminate water supplies and soil with the waste it would produce.

In response, the Brazoria County court sent a letter to the state of Texas and various federal agencies asking them not to allow the company's plant project. The legal process is not yet finalized.