The University of Washington confirmed Wednesday that it is now running a monkey research facility in Mesa that was thought to be abandoned.
New drone video posted on YouTube clearly showed monkeys in the cages, leaving some to wonder if the monkeys had been abandoned and if anyone was taking care of them. Some people even wondered if it was some sort of secret government test site and began calling it the "monkey farm."
But the University of Washington put those rumors to rest, saying it's breeding pig-tailed macaque monkeys for research purposes as part of the Washington National Primate Research Center.
The University said there's no actual testing going on in Mesa, just the breeding program. And a university spokesperson said there is a team of employees taking care of the macaques.
According to the National Institutes of Health, UW receives around $2 million a year to run the facility.
But critics like Stop Animal Experimentation NOW (SAEN) point to University of Washington's past animal inspection history as evidence that they shouldn't be running any kind of animal testing facility.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture inspects animal facilities like this one. According to past inspections, primates have died while under the University of Washington's care. Some have died as a result of attacks by other primates, others from various medical causes.
In one case, however, a primate died because it was not given water for nearly three days. The USDA found a worker had not checked the cages according to the schedule, so no one noticed the animal's water tube had been disconnected.
SAEN said according to documents they've received from the University of Washington, that primate is not the only one.
University of Washington did not respond to requests for comment about the USDA inspections or SAEN's allegations.