Recently, a tipster at a research laboratory in the Midwest shared with Smash HLS an email that Josh Bradford wrote a few years ago about Matt Block of Worldwide Primates (Bradford, the son of Primate Products’ CIO Donald Bradford, works at Charles River Laboratories):
“BETWEEN YOU AND ME – here is the scope as I know it.
Matt Block was featured on magazine covers as the youngest millionaire in Florida. He started very early as an animal trader in Miami. I came to know him when Matt sold the facility PPI took over in Miami. At that time (1996ish.. I go way back in this business) he had been run out of the business and just finished serving a jail sentence for CITES fraud. If memory serves, he was caught when someone posed as a gorilla in Mexico he was going to help transport. PPI had to completely gut the facility it bought from him; I personally ripped out insulation during my ‘summer vacation’ while spending time with my dad. In an unfinished attic area, I removed rows of insulation with full hundreds of broken rusty needles used for who knows what. When you slammed a door, bird shit would sometimes fall thru the drop ceiling, it was a filth pit. Several times him and my old man were near fist-a-cuffs.
PPI also assumed some of the staff Matt employed there. They reported stories of him selling rabbits to old ladies promising them it was the Easter bunny, chopping up an elephant they couldn’t sell, rare birds, snakes, monkeys.. all running through one small facility that led to jail time for him. He was out of control and over his head.
In getting back into the business, Matt served primarily as a broker for baboons, marmosets, and harder to acquire animals. Later, he built a facility in Miami for primates and ran it with min. wage employees and part time on-call pet vets in the area. He may have a full-time foreign vet there now, I don’t know. PPI would try to avoid working with him, but I’d occasionally have to call when we needed a few extra animals to fill an order. He was difficult and his animals always arrived with alopecia.
Personally, he is very nice and easy to talk to. I say hello and chat with him at each meeting I see him at. I believe he served his time for his crimes and hear that he communicates with government officials about animal rights activists and reports less than upstanding animal providers. He’s found and knows his place.. and that is providing very cheap brokered animals from less common sources while housing them at minimal standards and little veterinary care.
Telling it to you straight.. Hope that helps…