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Animal Cruelty: Florida animal broker Robert Matson Conyers goes on trial for monkey shipment


The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, which is prosecuting a Florida man for cruelty in the shipment of monkeys, released this photograph.

A Florida animal broker was expected to stand trial in Los Angeles today on charges of animal cruelty for allegedly shipping research monkeys by air in crates, causing 16 of them to die, according to The Associated Press.

Robert Matson Conyers faces 10 counts stemming from a 2008 plane trip from Guyana, the news agency said.

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In a statement (PDF) released in September, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office said a man named Akhtar Hussain, also charged, had hired Conyers to transport 25 primates to a buyer in Thailand. Conyers allegedly tried to ship the animals from Guyana to Bangkok, via Miami, Los Angeles and China.

The animals included 14 marmosets, five white-fronted capuchins, and six squirrel monkeys but Chinese authorities stopped shipment and sent the cargo back to Los Angeles, where officials discovered that 15 had died from neglect, starvation and hypothermia, prosecutors said.

Conyers faces maximum punishments of six months in jail and a $20,000 fine.

Citing the advocacy group Stop Animal Cruelty Now, the AP said the monkeys were dehydrated and reduced to cannibalism during the trip.

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Hussain was a large in September. The AP did not report on the status of his case as of today.

According to, only nine of the primate ultimately survived as a 16th animal died as a result of harm suffered during the trip.

Deputy City Attorney Don Cocek was quoted as saying: “The conditions inside of the shipping containers was horrendous and criminal. Of the 25 monkeys that were shipped, only nine survived the ordeal.”