Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why Is the Federal Government Awarding Contracts to a Company That Was Involved in Smuggling Primates?

Worldwide Primates Inc. was started by Mathew Block to import primates into the US for animal experimentation. In 1993, he went to prison for smuggling baby orangutans. Despite this, it looks like this has been no barrier to his company getting federal contracts. Here is a synopsis from a Brown University web site about his case:
Matthew Block, of Worldwide Primates, Miami, FL, was sentenced to 13 months in federal prison, three years of supervised probation, and a $30,000 fine at a 2-day sentence hearing on April 16, 1993. Block pleaded guilty in February to felony conspiracy to violate the Lacey and Endangered Species Acts by conspiring to smuggle orangutans. This is the case in which six infant orangs were discovered on February 20, 1990, at the Bangkok airport in two small containers marked "Live Birds." Three of the infants died of injuries and diseases, one has disappeared from a rehabilitation center in Borneo and is presumed dead, while the other two are still being rehabilitated. The International Primate Protection League was active in exposing and urging prosecution of this case.
Now, Matthew Block is not listed as a principal of the Corporation according to the Florida Department of Corporations. The principals are Brooke Block (his wife) and Gertie Block (his mother). Is the Matthew Block listed as the contact on this job announcement from June of this year the same one that went to prison? If so, what is his role in the company that he founded?

According to this website, Worldwide Primates has received $2,411,795.00 from the Dept. of Defense since 2000. DOD contracts are not the only government contracts that they have been pursuing.They were denied contracts by HHS back in 2003 due to what the government said was an insufficient response for their RFP. But, according to, they have been successful in getting other government contracts"
WORLD WIDE PRIMATES INC (16450 SW 180TH ST in MIAMI, FL; small business): $362,855 in 5 contracts from 2002 to 2006

Contracts for Live Animals, Not Raised for Food, Laboratory Equipment and Supplies by Army, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health
Signed by year: 2000: $0; 2001: $0; 2002: $42,000; 2003: $0; 2004: $37,145; 2005: $282,120; 2006: $1,590.

Biggest contracts:
$232,500 with Army for Live Animals, Not Raised for Food. Signed on 2005-08-12. Completion date: 2005-10-17.
$49,620 with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Live Animals, Not Raised for Food. Signed on 2005-12-22. Completion date: 2006-03-20.
$42,000 with National Institutes of Health for Live Animals, Not Raised for Food. Taking place in MT. Signed on 2002-08-15. Completion date: 2002-11-15.
$37,145 with National Institutes of Health for Live Animals, Not Raised for Food. Signed on 2004-04-15. Completion date: 2004-05-05.
Aside from the moral issues involved in animal experimentation, why are US taxpayer dollars going to a company started by a man who went to jail for smuggling, and then transferred control of the company to his wife and mother?


Rose said...

Thanks for this post...your stories hit so many buttons with me that a lot of times, I feel too overwhelmed to respond.

Thanks for your bravery and integrity.

I have no words other than to say...that this degraded and collaborative human behavior saddens but does not surprise.

redapes said...

Thanks for posting this story. It's unacceptable that the US gov't is funding this monster. How is this even possible?

Orangutans are critically endangered in the wild because of rapid deforestation and the expansion of palm oil plantations.

If nothing is done to protect these majestic creatures, they could be extinct in just a few years.

Visit the Orangutan Outreach website to learn how YOU can make a difference!

Orangutan Outreach
Reach out and save the orangutans!
Facebook Cause:

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