BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Congresswoman Nancy Mace will make a visit to Morgan Island on Thursday as part of an investigation into alleged animal testing and abuse.

The island, known as “Monkey Island,” is located near Beaufort and is inhabited by free-ranging rhesus monkeys.

In a news release Wednesday, Rep. Nancy Mace said she and the White Coast Waste project discovered 600 monkeys are removed from the island each year to be used in what she called “gruesome science experiments.”

She sent a letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, earlier this month requesting information regarding the “disturbing housing of monkeys for testing purposes.

“The deeper I dig into the taxpayer-funded animal testing of Dr. Fauci’s, the more horrific it gets. I’ve always heard stories about Morgan Island in my District, off the coast of St. Helena, but like many, I thought it was a sanctuary for retired and rescued monkeys,” Rep. Mace said.

“Recently we found out that up to 600 of these monkeys are captured every year from the island and subjected to cruel and barbaric testing from NIAID, including purposefully infecting them with debilitating and painful diseases while withholding pain relief,” she said. “This is abhorrent.”

She called on Dr. Fauci to provide an explanation of NIAID’s involvement in operating and maintaining the island and wanted a number of monkeys that have been transported from Morgan Island to NIAID labs since January 1, 2020.

Her letter said more than 3,500 monkeys are believed to live on the island.

The visit comes after Rep. Mace recently led a bipartisan effort to expose beagle puppy testing by the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Testing, she said, included “cordectomy,” a move the Cancer Treatment Center of America described as a surgical procedure that removes part, or all, the vocal cords and is commonly performed on those with laryngeal cancer.

A bill to end federal animal testing on dogs was introduced by Mace on December 9th.

Rep. Mace will be joined by leaders from the White Coat Project and Animal Wellness Action, two animal advocacy groups, as they travel to the island by boat Thursday afternoon.