Despite a pledge to Israel’s High Court of Justice last month, the Israeli government has not yet transferred much-needed funds to the Mazor monkey farm, where the survival of over 1,000 macaque monkeys is at stake.
In March, Shmurat Hakofim, the organization which cares for the animals, said it could no longer provide for them due to a lack of state funding and a dire shortage of food. The government agreed to transfer 4.4 million shekels (approximately $1.5 million) to the farm to provide for the monkeys care over the next four years. The state promised that 184,000 NIS would be transferred to Shmurat Hakofim immediately to cover three months care.
According to Haaretz, Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry claimed the delay in transferring the funds was a result of Shmurat Hakofim not having an active bank account and lacking necessary income tax forms.
“Unfortunately, the fact that the organization has no bank account was concealed from us and from the court the entire time the case was being heard in the High Court and during negotiations between the organization and the ministry,” the Environmental Protection Ministry said. “Only when the money was ready for transfer did the company divulge this fact to the ministry, and this led to an unnecessary delay in the scheduled transfer of the funds, and misled the court and the ministry. ”
The 1,250 macaque monkeys were left stranded at Mazor (a now-defunct monkey breeding farm) due to having been captured in the wild, making it illegal under Israeli law for them to be sold for experimentation. Monkeys born at Mazor were transferred to zoos in Israel, including the Ben Shemen monkey farm.
Ron Mazor, the founder of Shmurat Hakofim, told the High Court that “without the state money, all or in part, the Mazor monkeys have no chance of surviving.” Mazor also said he had been informed by state officials that his organization would not receive the promised funds until after its suppliers and employees had been paid.