National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Traumatic monkey tests conducted at top UK universities

Posted: 22 April 2015. Updated: 24 April 2015


Ahead of World Day for Laboratory Animals on April 24 the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) has revealed that traumatic monkey experiments are being carried out at top universities. The NAVS is calling for the University of Cambridge, King’s College London, Newcastle University, the University of Oxford and other universities to end their experiments on monkeys.

‘Severe’ and ‘substantial’ tests are conducted at King’s College London, and University of Oxford. These universities and the University of Cambridge also conduct ‘moderate’ rated experiments while the severity of experiments on marmoset monkeys undertaken at Newcastle University is unspecified.

‘Severe’ experiments may include “toxicity testing where death is the end-point” or surgical interventions which are expected to result in “severe or persistent moderate” post-operative pain, suffering or distress. ‘Moderate’ suffering includes toxicity testing and irradiation which does not result in death while procedures considered ‘mild’ can encompass single dose tests and creating tumours which “cause no detectable clinical adverse effects”.

Around 4.1 million animal experiments take place each year in the UK, with 49% undertaken at universities and medical schools. The four universities account for 11% of all primates tested on in the UK and three of the four universities highlighted have increased the number of monkey tests they conduct.


Most recent figures reveal that 2,202 monkeys were used for 3,236 experiments in the UK, with many animals enduring repeat experiments. Hundreds of tests were for ‘fundamental biological research’ while 2,340 were for toxicology research, for which animals typically endure force-feeding or injections of experimental compounds, resulting in debilitating symptoms and even death. Many will be killed at the end of the experiment.

A high proportion of monkeys used in tests are imported into the UK, with almost three quarters of experiments performed on monkeys from outside the EU. The UK is one of Europe’s largest monkey importers, bringing more than 1,350 into the country for experiments in 2012. Half are born to a parent captured from the wild.

The NAVS has previously revealed the brutality of the laboratory primate trade, exposing the shocking reality inside a monkey farm in Mauritius and distributor in Spain. We believe the UK should play no role in this trade and that universities conducting primate research should instead champion the better, humane alternatives already in use.

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