UK: Calls for Government to break ties with the cruel trade in wild-caught monkeys for research
British MPs are calling on the Government to ban the import of the offspring of wild-caught primates into the UK for research purposes, and prohibit all imports from facilities which trap wild primates for breeding purposes. The news will have huge implications for Mauritius, the UK’s main supplier of such primates.
Between 2008 and 2009 almost 5,000 primates were imported into the UK for research purposes; the majority long-tailed macaques from Mauritius and the focus of a recent BUAV investigation. In answers to Parliamentary questions tabled by Henry Smith MP, Home Office Minister Lynn Featherstone has stated that since 2009, 2,227 long-tailed macaques who were born to wild-caught parents have been imported into the UK (2).
The capture of primates from the wild inflicts great suffering and is inherently cruel. In Mauritius, the BUAV investigation revealed that trapped monkeys sustain injuries and broken limbs during trapping. One trapper routinely took a young wild-caught monkey from his cage and tormented him – swinging him around in the air by his tail. Footage obtained from inside one farm revealed the frightening and stressful method of capture used by workers - grabbing and pulling monkeys by the tail. Pulling this species of monkey by the tails in this way could lead to injury, including the separation of vertebrae in the tail causing pain and debilitation.
Leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas, MP stated:
"I am calling on the Government to make real efforts to distance itself from the continued practice of using wild-caught nonhuman primates in research. As investigative work by the BUAV has shown, this trade inflicts unnecessary suffering and is inherently cruel. The British people have a strong instinct when it comes to animal cruelty and it's clear that this level of animal abuse will not be tolerated. The Government must therefore do more to take the lead in modern, humane medical research without animal suffering - and ban the import of wild-caught offspring for research."
Henry Smith MP who recently tabled parliamentary questions on this issue stated:
“I felt compelled to raise at the highest levels the disturbing capture and importation of non-human primates in to the UK for research purposes. I think many people in this country will be deeply concerned at the scale and unnecessary suffering caused by this cruel trade. By highlighting this issue I hope we can bring about awareness and change.”
BUAV’s Director of Special Projects, Sarah Kite, stated:
“We are delighted to receive support from British MPs. This is a brutal trade. We are calling upon the UK Government to dissociate the UK from this cruelty. We also call on the government of Mauritius to take immediate action to put an end to this cruelty by banning the trapping and export of its primate population.”