National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Political Animals 2015: The Laboratory Primate Trade

Posted: 24 September 2015. Updated: 29 September 2015


Last year, the NAVS exposed two more laboratory monkey supply facilities, Biodia in Mauritius and Noveprim in Spain. The exposé revealed:

  • monkeys torn from the wild, destroying family groups
  • pregnant monkeys roughly manhandled and pinned down
  • monkey babies wrenched from their screaming mothers’ arms and tattooed
  • brutal capture methods with animals pulled and swung by their tails
  • heavy-handed restraint with monkeys’ arms pinned tightly behind their backs
  • terrifying routine procedures including blood sampling and TB test injections into the eyelid

The NAVS has previously reported on shocking conditions at laboratory primate supplier, Nafovanny, in Vietnam. We subsequently found that when the Home Office inspected Nafovanny, the inspectors were simply directed away from the areas of concern.

It is clear the effective regulation of international dealers supplying UK laboratories with animals is a very difficult task; nevertheless, government officials must improve their performance on these inspections.

In 2007, The European Parliament adopted Written Declaration 40/2007 which:

1. Urges the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament to use the revision process of Directive 86/609/EC as an opportunity to:
(a) make ending the use of apes and wild-caught monkeys in scientific experiments an urgent priority,
(b) establish a timetable for replacing the use of all primates in scientific experiments with alternatives;

2. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

There was a limited response to this Declaration in Directive 2010/63/EU, which bans the use of apes and wild caught monkeys in experiments and calls for feasibility studies and subsequent timetable for the phasing out of use of F1 primates (monkeys born of wild caught parents). This latter provision is an important step, as currently, monkey dealers are able to restock their factory farms from the wild, whilst governments can still claim to have prohibited use of wild-caught monkeys in laboratories.

The UK is one of the largest users of laboratory monkeys in Europe and therefore can have a profound impact on the trade. We urge MPs and MEPs to make the principles of WD40/2007 a reality, and implementation of the prohibition of F1 primates should be made a priority.

Read other articles from Political Animals 2015

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