Animal protection organizations across Europe have launched a campaign calling for an end to the trade in primates from Mauritius and their use in research. The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), which is led by the BUAV and represents groups in 22 countries, is calling on its supporters to write letters of protest to the Mauritius government as well as Mauritius Embassies and Consulates throughout Europe.

Mauritius is the world’s second largest exporter of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) for the research industry, exporting many thousands of animals each year. The country regularly exports monkeys to Europe, in particular to the UK, France and Spain. Despite listed by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (known as CITES), long-tailed macaques are widely persecuted and exploited in Mauritius.

The ECEAE is also raising concerns about the introduction of the Pre-Clinical Research Bill, which it believes will inflict even further suffering on the country’s primate population and that the establishment of primate experimentation facilities in Mauritius will simply encourage further use of these animals. If the Bill is adopted, primates will be subjected to experiments in laboratories in Mauritius itself that will inflict enormous pain and suffering on the animals.

The ECEAE is concerned that European research companies, in an effort to avoid the growing public criticism of animal experimentation and attempts to impose stricter restrictions on the use of primates within the European Union, may be looking to set up primate experimentation facilities in countries where restrictions may be more lax.

Geoffrey Deckers, Chairperson, ECEAE stated: "There is growing concern across Europe about the plight of monkeys in Mauritius and the pending Pre-Clinical Research Bill. In the coming weeks, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments will be mobilizing support throughout Europe for our call to the Mauritius government to take measures to protect its population of macaques rather than allowing them to suffer and die in experiments.”