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BUAV renews call to end monkey trade as latest figures reveal thousands of monkeys sent to laboratories in UK from Mauritius

03/06/2013

The BUAV Save our Monkeys campaign has renewed its call for Mauritius to end the export of long-tailed macaques following the release of new data showing a shockingly high number of monkeys exported from Mauritius for animal experiments during 2012.

According to the figures released by the Ministry of Agro-Industry, Mauritius exported a total of 6,494 primates (1) to eight countries around the world in 2012, making Mauritius the world's largest exporter of monkeys for the research industry after China. The UK, the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, Singapore and Spain all bought Mauritian monkeys, valued at around £2,000 per animal. Half of those monkeys exported went to the USA, which imported 3,266 individuals during just one year.

The UK imported nearly 1,000 monkeys from Mauritius, making it the UK’s main supplier of monkeys for experiments. The BUAV estimates that the UK spent nearly £2 million importing Mauritian macaques in 2012 alone (£1,856,444). Monkeys imported by the UK from Mauritius include the offspring of wild-caught parents. Despite a widely publicised ban on the use of wild-caught primates in UK research since 1997, there is no protection for the offspring of wild-caught primates or primates exported from farms which trap wild primates for breeding purposes. The BUAV is calling on the UK Government to disassociate itself from this cruel trade. 

Primates are flown from Mauritius by Air France, packed into small wooden crates and travel as cargo. Air France is one of only a handful of passenger airlines that continues to transport primates for the research industry. Thanks to the efforts of the BUAV there is now a growing list of airlines that has taken a stance against the cruel business of shipping primates around the world for experimentation. These include major international carriers such as Air Canada, British Airways, United Airlines, Air China, China Airlines, Northwest Airlines, South African Airways, American Airlines and Delta Airlines.

In the UK, many monkeys are used in toxicological (poisoning) research. Such testing can last for months during which the animals are dosed with chemicals or drugs through injection or forced ingestion. Others are used in neurological research which involves the implantation of electrodes and/or brain damage. According to the most recent figures available, 2,475 experiments were conducted on 1,459 monkeys in the UK in 2011, with many monkeys forced to endure multiple experiments.

The BUAV has campaigned tirelessly to reveal the fate of primates in laboratories who are subjected to experiments that can cause them substantial pain, discomfort and suffering. Most will be killed at the end of this ordeal.

Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of the BUAV stated:Despite growing awareness and concern about the suffering inflicted on the monkey population, Mauritius continues to sully its reputation by selling monkeys to the research industry on a grand scale. The BUAV is committed to continuing to educate and raise awareness of the cruelty involved in the trapping, breeding and transport of these persecuted animals. I appeal to the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Dr. The Honourable Navinchandra Ramgoolam, to take action to end this terrible suffering. Please help put an end to the cruel trade in monkeys from Mauritius by signing our global petition at Saveourmonkeys.mu.