National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Brutality by Spanish lab monkey dealer exposed

Posted: 24 April 2014. Updated: 9 March 2015

An investigation by the NAVS has revealed shocking scenes inside a huge facility in Tarragona, Spain, that imports monkeys from Mauritius and distributes them around the world for experiments.


  • Terrified monkeys dragged from cages and swung by their tails by workers
  • Monkeys screaming in fear as their arms are pinned behind their backs
  • Sociable monkeys locked alone in tiny, barren cages, with barely room to move

Watch video clips from our investigation

The Spanish farm exposed by the NAVS is run by Noveprim, a huge monkey dealer operating out of Mauritius, where wild monkeys are trapped and taken to a breeding farm to supplement the breeding stock. The NAVS recently released footage inside another Mauritian monkey dealer, Biodia, revealing similar scenes. Our disturbing findings reveal how the brutality inflicted on the animals by staff is clearly endemic to the trade.

One of the world’s largest suppliers of monkeys for experiments, Mauritius exports as many as 10,000 animals each year to laboratories around the world. The UK plays a key role in this despicable trade – nearly two-thirds of the 1,500 monkeys imported for experiments in 2012 came from Mauritian farms. In a shocking oversight, the UK no longer checks or approves such facilities.

The monkeys most often used in UK experiments, and the species traded by Noveprim, are long-tailed macaques. They are known to be particularly sensitive to travel, yet they are packed into tiny crates and flown thousands of miles across the world; many become sick and die. Consequently almost all major airlines have pledged not to support the trade. One of the last remaining passenger airlines that continues to transport monkeys for experiments is Air France, which flies from Mauritius.

Despite the availability of advanced alternatives, monkeys are used in the UK mainly to test drugs, with animals typically enduring force-feeding or injections of experimental compounds, and immobilisation by being strapped into chairs. Investigations by the NAVS have found monkeys suffering rectal prolapse from the stress of being restrained; others suffered blackened lungs, trembling, collapse, bleeding and self-mutilation. The next largest area of primate use in the UK is neurology, which can involve electrodes and bolts being screwed into the monkeys’ heads.

We need your help to end the lab monkey trade and secure measures that were promised in Europe to protect these monkeys.

After an intense campaign by the NAVS, the European Parliament’s Written Declaration in 2007 resolved that the wild capture of monkeys must be ended and steps taken to phase out experiments on monkeys. The 2010 European Directive on animal experiments also gave special protection to nonhuman primates, but loopholes were introduced and progress has stalled.

The British Government has also made a U-turn on its pledge to reduce animal experiments and Government statistics reveal that the number of monkeys experimented on in the UK has actually risen, by nearly 50% in 2012.

Help end the suffering!

Please send a donation today to enable us to expose the suffering and campaign to end the lab monkey trade

Spread the word: contact us today for leaflets highlighting the suffering.

Tell Air France that you will be flying with other airlines until they pledge to stop transporting monkeys for research. You can contact them using one (or all) of the following:

Note: although KLM does not itself transport monkeys for research, they are part of Air France-KLM, so we are calling for their policy to be extended across the company

Contact your MP and contact your MEP and urge them to press for and support a phase-out of the use of primates in research.

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