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Georgia court hears case where South Ga. D.A. argues primate breeding farm's bond to build should be revoked

Hear what each side had to say when asked why the revenue bond that allows Safer Human Medicine to build in Decatur County should either be revoked or if the validation should stand.
Posted at 9:50 PM, Jun 13, 2024
  • Georgia Court of Appeals questioned attorneys on both sides of the issue.
  • Watch the story to hear what each side had to say.


There's a number of court cases connected to a controversial primate deal that has divided a community.

"This is like the first big,” said Yvena Merritt, an advocate leading the No Monkey Breeding Bainbridge, Georgia.

WTXL reporter AJ Douglas listened in to hear attorney's on both sides argue if the revenue bond that gives primate breeding farm Safer Human Medicine the go ahead to build should be revoked.

"I'm a gatekeeper in ensuring my public is safe,” said South Georgia Judicial Circuit district attorney, Joe Mulholland.

Thursday Mulholland argued that the revenue bond that would allow primate company Safer Human Medicine to build in Bainbridge should be revoked.

Mulholland argues that he did not receive all required documentation..

"The pilot agreement wasn't even in there. I can know of something if I don't know that it even exists at the time that I signed it,” according to Mulholland.

The attorney for Safer Human Medicine, Hugh Petterson, was not explicit when it came down to confirming if the district attorney did in fact receive the pilot agreement which basically maps out the intentions behind the project.

"[Was] he gave all the proper documents prior to signing it,” said Judge Hodges .

"My understanding was that he– I wasn't there.. But my understanding was he was,” said Petterson.

Petterson argued that since the D.A voluntarily signed the bond the agreement should be upheld.

Petterson went on to say if the company is ultimately victorious in court the company is ready to build.

"So if you win here today you all are moving forward,”asked Hodges.

"Yes we are,” said Petterson.

The bond was approved January 2 after county leaders approved the deal on December 11.

People like Yvena Merrit have been advocating against the monkey farm since it was announced. She says she's glad more action is being taken.

"It's just a nice big step of some type of movement happening,” said Merritt.

She said despite what's decided in court she and thousands of others will continue to push against the company making its way to South Georgia.

"No matter what I'm going to keep on fighting,” said Merritt.

A decision has not been made just yet. However the district attorney expects a determination in the coming months.