monkeys are being illegally trapped and plundered from the forests of south
east Asia for use in British research laboratory experiments, fear animal
welfare campaigners. Campaigners and MPs are calling on the Home Office
to examine allegations that wild-caught macaques are being sourced from
the jungles of Laos and Cambodia in breach of international conservation
investigators from the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV)
found “appalling” conditions at one primate centre in Laos where
the “factory farming of macaques takes place on an industrial scale”.
They said monkeys were kept in rows of small chain-linked pens whose floors
were made of either concrete or suspended wire. And infants were taken from
their mothers aged six months, they said, causing extreme distress to both.
primates can only be imported into the UK for toxicology and medical research
tests from companies approved by British inspectors.
jungle monkeys are kept in netting bags after being trapped in the wild
regulations are aimed at ensuring adequate conditions and preventing ruthless
businessmen cashing in on the booming trade by trapping monkeys in the wild.
However, the BUAV fears those rules are being broken. It is concerned that
UK-approved centres in China and Vietnam are sourcing their primates from
unapproved farms in Laos where there is no requirement to give long-tailed
macaques permanent markers such as tattoos or chips. Instead, they are simply
given removable neck tags, which the BUAV says can be “changed at
will” and which renders record-keeping “seriously questionable”.
investigators say they witnessed horrific conditions at the largest of Laos’s
three primate centres, the Vannaseng Trading Company. They claimed that
the monkeys’ distress was intensified by overcrowding and by up to
two months kept in dark conditions prior to export to China and Vietnam.
They are then shipped onwards to Europe and the USA on journeys that can
take up to two days, the BUAV said. The group also raised concerns that
the British Government has just approved a primate centre in Cambodia where
campaigners have also found disturbing conditions.
wrote to Home Office minister Meg Hillier last week. Its director Sarah
Kite said last night: “The continued use of wild-caught primates is
universally accepted as being cruel and unethical.
the UK to be part of a trade where monkeys continue to be plundered from
the wild would be unacceptable.”
MP Mike Hancock, who has raised his own concerns in Parliament, described
the conditions in Laos as “nothing short of disgraceful” and
called for an investigation into possible import rule breaches. He
said: “The British Government is being completely complacent in this
and it now needs to take decisive action.” However,
the Home Office yesterday ruled out any investigation, saying “we
have received no evidence to suggest one is needed”. It
stressed that it had inspected conditions the breeding centre in Cambodia
last year and found it to be an “acceptable source”.
added: “We expect and require the highest standards in all aspects
of animal research and will thoroughly examine any evidence that suggests
these standards are not being met.”
2,000 primates were imported into the UK from China and South East Asia
over the past two years and there is no suggestion that British research
centres are breaching international regulations.
INFORMATION VISIT WWW.BUAV.ORG