Animal Welfare Issues
BUAV investigators traveled to various locations in Indonesia where wild macaques were trapped as well as visited a number of dealers' premises, and supply companies that export primates for the research industry. The investigation has revealed a) the cruelty inflicted on macaques during their capture, transportation and confinement and b) the poor conditions in which primates are kept at primate supply companies. Monkeys were housed in barren concrete pens that were inappropriate for their complex behavioral and psychological needs. Such treatment and conditions breached the International Primatological Society guidelines for the acquisition, care and breeding of nonhuman primates.
Trapping of wild monkeys: There were three main methods of trapping adult macaques. One involved a trap made out of bamboo that is primed with fruit such as bananas. As the monkey pulls on the bananas, the bamboo frame collapses trapping the monkeys inside. The second method involves the construction of a much larger pen, again primed with fruit. There is an opening on the top of the pen with a chute. The monkeys are able to get into the pen via the chute, but are unable to climb back out. In the third method, the trapper spreads a net across a small area and then uses dogs to frighten and chase the monkeys into the net. The monkeys become entangled in the net and are unable to free themselves
Transportation of wild-caught primates: Visuals obtained by the BUAV during its investigation show that the transportation of wild-caught primates from the trapping sites was carried out in a cruel way that would inflict further suffering on wild animals who were already stressed and bewildered by being removed from their homes and family groups. The monkeys were crammed into dilapidated wooden and wire crates. These crates were then piled on top of each other in the back of an open truck, risking crushing those on the bottom. This method of transportation is apparently commonplace in Indonesia
Conditions at dealers' holding facilities: Conditions in which recently trapped monkeys were kept were found to be appalling. Most monkeys were held in small wooden crates. Such conditions would be extremely stressful for the monkeys and likely to cause ill health, injuries and even death. For example, at one dealer's house, young long-tailed macaques were kept in a small wooden crate on the side of a busy and noisy road. At another location, BUAV investigators found wild-caught long-tailed macaques in small cages. Such cramped and overcrowded confinement would be a source of constant stress for the monkeys
Conditions at primate supply companies: BUAV investigators visited a number of holding and supply facilities which housed juvenile and adult long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques. At all the facilities, similar conditions were found small, essentially barren concrete and chain link pens, either with a metal grid floor or a smooth surface. There was no substrate in which the monkeys could play or dig. There were few perches, no shelters and no places for the monkeys to hide from each other or people. Such conditions would be stressful for the animals in addition to the stress experienced as a result of captivity and confinement. At one such facility, the Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) in Bogor, young monkeys were housed indoors in small chain link pens. BUAV investigators were told that these facilities housed young monkeys who had been trapped and removed from Tinjil island. The pens were a barren environment with a metal grid floor. These conditions were a cruel and stark contrast to living freely in their family groups in a natural environment
Equally shocking were the conditions under which monkeys were being held in a new quarantine facility at Sukarmo Hatta Airport, Jakarta. The monkeys were kept singly in small metal cages attached to a wall. The cages were set apart from each other and placed several feet off the ground
International Primatology Society (IPS) international guidelines aim "to promote good practice in the acquisition, care and breeding of primates, and the enhancement of animal welfare." The findings of the BUAV investigation, however, raises major concerns regarding animal welfare and reveal a disturbing picture of suffering that has been inflicted on Indonesia's population of macaques during trapping and holding and in breeding and supplying facilities. Evidence obtained from the BUAV's investigation found numerous violations of these internationally recognized animal welfare guidelines.
A veterinarian and primate expert who watched the BUAV video commented:
"As a veterinarian with over 35 years of experience, I have serious concerns for the monkeys seen in these videos. There is little doubt that the well-being of these animals was being compromised by the manner in which they were being housed.
The concrete and chain link enclosures with concrete floors that were being used to hold many of the monkeys were essentially barren. There were no high level platforms that would be important for monkeys to climb away from perceived threats. As a result, the monkeys climbed as high as they could along the chain link and hung there, sometimes from the wire ceiling. No hiding places were present, something also important to reduce stress and distress in these clearly frightened individuals. Although I could not see a source of water, it was not being supplied through means that would allow immersion.
The barren cages holding monkeys at the dealers' premises were even worse with regards to animal welfare. The cages were overcrowded. Not only were climbing and hiding impossible, some of the cages were too small for normal postural adjustments.
The pens and cages were totally inappropriate for monkeys. There should be an earthen floor with vegetation, branches or other climbable structures that extend as high as possible in the enclosure, sources of water that allow for immersion of the monkeys, places to hide from either aggressors or human observers."