Caged and bound for Britain:
Factory-farmed monkeys are shipped
by thousands to U.K. laboratories
Factory-farmed monkeys are shipped
by thousands to U.K. laboratories
The young monkey reaches desperately into the cage where his mate is trapped, pawing in confusion at her soft fur. She has been lured by a juicy piece of sugar cane, and a trapdoor has slammed shut behind her.
Trappers rush through the jungle towards them and the male bares his teeth, but he’s forced to flee.
His mate screams as she’s grabbed by the tail and shoved into a sack.
Her fate is a bleak one — she is destined to spend the rest of her life producing babies for vivisection laboratories in Britain.
Although experimenting on monkeys caught in the wild was banned in Britain in 1997, laboratories across the UK have begun exploiting a ‘loophole’ in the law that allows them to use the offspring of wild-caught primates.
These are almost as cheap as wild-caught monkeys because they are reared abroad in vast factory farms.
According to Parliamentary questions recently answered by Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone, Britain imported almost 5,000 ‘non-human primates’ for experiments between 2008 and 2009.
A further 2,000 have since been shipped to the UK. Most were long-tailed macaques from Mauritius and Vietnam, but they also included rhesus monkeys from China.
Countries such as China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mauritius supply 100,000 monkeys a year to labs around the world, including Britain.
'This trade is not only cruel and immoral, claim animal welfare campaigners, it’s also slowly driving wild monkeys towards extinction'The farms where they are raised are continually re-stocked with wild monkeys — so Britain’s import ban, is having little effect.
This trade is not only cruel and immoral, claim animal welfare campaigners, it’s also slowly driving wild monkeys towards extinction.
‘The British public has been misled into thinking our country has taken a principled position against using wild-caught primates,’ says Sarah Kite, special projects director for the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV).
‘The Coalition Government should close the loophole by completely banning the import of primates.’
Mauritius describes itself as ‘a tropical dream come true’, the perfect destination for a luxurious holiday.
And if you should want something more eco-friendly, it has a plethora of unique habitats brimming with rare and beautiful plants and animals.
Behind this façade, however, it hosts four factory farms housing more than 40,000 monkeys, most of which are destined for research labs in Britain and elsewhere.
Virtually all of the monkeys were caught in the wild and many spent their first few weeks of captivity in holding pens across the island.
One trapper, who worked for the giant Noveprim monkey farm owned by a company based in Mauritius, was filmed by the BUAV keeping his captives in a wire cage barely larger than a rabbit hutch.
Anguish: A monkey is trapped and placed in a bag in Cambodia
On countless occasions he was seen swinging a monkey around by its tail. (The Animal Procedures Committee, which advises the Home Office on welfare issues, says monkeys routinely suffer broken arms, legs and tails during capture.)
Once the monkeys reach the factory farms, dozens are crammed into cages no larger than a garden shed.
At the Noveprim farm, which houses 10,000 monkeys, the cells are barren and lined with concrete and chicken wire. If the monkeys are lucky, they’ll be given a plastic barrel to play with, or perhaps a wooden swing.
Hundreds of cages lie in long ranks. The complex is ringed with tall fences and guarded by men with sticks and machetes.
Countless monkeys can be seen rocking endlessly back and forth — telltale signs of immense stress, and even madness.
Others stare blankly into space — a symptom of shock and depression. Occasionally, a monkey will let out a long plaintive cry.
Whatever your views on vivisection — and we should remember that countless human lives are saved by lab testing — it’s a heart-rending sound.
'Each female will have to bear at least one baby per year, which is forcibly weaned at eight months and exported soon after'Most of the farmed monkeys are young breeding females (the majority of captured males are exported to vivisection labs).
Each female will have to bear at least one baby per year, which is forcibly weaned at eight months and exported soon after.
This treatment, which sometime lasts for years, causes tremendous suffering, says Professor Stephen Harris, a wild mammal expert at Bristol University.
‘This is a truly appalling way to treat any animal, especially one that is as socially sophisticated as the macaque. Given that primates are just like us in many different ways, perhaps we should be asking if this is an ethically responsible way to treat them.’
The monkey farmers make a small fortune. Monkeys are bought from trappers for a few pounds and fed and housed for just five pence per day.
Each animal can be sold on the open market for £2,600, generating £26 million a year for the Mauritian economy.
The global lab monkey market is now worth more than £250 million a year, so it’s not surprising that other countries are getting involved.
Chinese companies, along with traders in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, have begun capturing huge numbers of monkeys in the jungles of South-East Asia for their own farms.
These house tens of thousands of animals in tiny cages even more barren than those on Mauritius. Many of the breeding animals cling to the bars of their cages, staring blankly into space.
Many of the monkeys will be used in China’s own laboratories, but a great many will be exported to the West, including Britain.
Holding facility: The animals are kept in cages prior to transportation in Cambodia
China has begun importing thousands of monkeys from neighbouring states for its farms. In recent years, Laos has exported 5,000 macaques to China and Vietnam.
The animals are often trucked back and forth across borders several times. Some claim that this is to leave a complex and confusing paper trail.
‘We fear that many of these wild-caught primates are being re-exported to Europe and America using suspect paperwork,’ says Sarah Kite of the BUAV.
‘If this is true, then some of these animals may already have found their way to Britain — or soon will do.’
Because of these concerns, along with worries over animal welfare, all UK-based airlines refuse to carry vivisection monkeys.
Even China Airlines has joined the boycott, describing the trade as ‘despicable’.
But others, such as Air France, American Airlines and the U.S.-based carrier Continental, will fly the monkeys anywhere. Air France is now one of the world’s biggest primate handlers, flying most of those destined for the UK into the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.
They are transported by van to secret holding centres across Britain.
Once they have been bought and sold by traders, often several times, they will be sent to labs across Britain, including those run by commercial chemical testing companies.
‘At the end of this nightmare journey they are destined to spend their lives in a metal laboratory cage,’ says the comedian Ricky Gervais, patron of the BUAV’s Stop the Baby Trade campaign.
‘They will then be subjected to cruel experiments.’
Terrified: Monkeys are held in cages prior to shipping
The monkeys are used in a wide variety of tests, some of which kill them within weeks, while others survive for years. In commercial labs they will be injected with newly-developed drugs and chemicals to see if these are poisonous.
In university laboratories, primates might have parts of their brain removed to see how it affects their behaviour.
Recent experiments at the University of Newcastle involved inserting electrodes into the heads of monkeys to measure the frequency of electric currents flowing through the brain.
In recent years, the military has greatly expanded its use of research monkeys.
Experiments included shooting them in the head to gauge the effect of bullets and ‘missiles’ on brain tissue. Riot control gases and bacteria and viruses have also been tested on them.
Britain is now the largest ‘user’ of monkeys in Europe — and second in the world only to America.
The UK uses more than 5,000 monkeys every year, while other countries have begun reducing the number of lab tests. Belgium has reduced the number of monkeys used in experiments by 90 per cent, while Austria has eliminated them completely.
Many scientists say experimenting on primates is essential for medical progress.
Emeritus Professor David Morton, a vet and bioethicist from Birmingham University, says: ‘Sometimes you cannot use anything other than primates if you want to get good scientific data. For example, you wouldn’t have the polio vaccine if primates had not been used in research.
‘Doing research on wild-caught primates raises all sorts of ethical issues. No matter how much you domesticate them they will remain wild animals. Having said that, breeding them in the UK might not necessarily be more humane. Countries like Mauritius can do it a bit more cheaply, too.
‘It always comes down to a balance between harms versus benefits. I think that the benefits to the human race outweigh the harm done to animals.’
But other leading scientists are questioning the fundamental ethics of the trade.
Professor Stephen Harris, from Bristol University, says: ‘Monkeys are thinking, feeling, conscious creatures. They’re not that different to us in many ways.
‘I’ve heard it described as a primate slave trade and it’s difficult to argue with that description. I struggle to find any legitimate reason why we should treat our fellow primates in such a cruel manner.’
Sharon Says... By now if I had not been born again you may not have known my name and you may not have known of my work, but I would be there. These being to me are no more important than a man and no less important than a man. The only thing that keeps me from seeking revenge upon those who commit such evil act is that I must follow Jesus.. that is because my own nature is not as his nature, so to stay on my road I must follow him. But some should be aware that there are people out there like me.. who are not bound by their need to please their Father. Who are not afraid to step over the line he has drawn. I was once that person..
I know Franklin you would be disappointed in the person I used to be, for I am all the things that we should not be.. revenge was my code.. and I lived by it. Not for myself but for those who could not speak. I shall give you an idea of how deep this runs... as a child of 13 I saw another child throw a dog out a second story window into its pen in its back yard, it landed ok and was not really hurt that I could see, but that was only good luck.. This was a rich girl who dragged that poor dog around without taking any notice of its falling or being hurt but yanking on the chain. Well one would think that I would go after her..but no, I blamed her parents for raising such an evil child. For two years I tortured them, I will not say my crimes, but it is ok to say that they were expensive and scary. He was in politics and I am sure had many enemies, and I can almost be certain his mind never went to a child living close by. I know now that was not the way to go as others probably were thought to be the cause.
You see at night I was as quiet as a cat, out I would go all dressed in black.. while my parents slept. I hated those people, for more than one reason. But the dog was my reason for taking such risks.
No one suspected a child.. and I knew that would work in my advantage.
My life was hell but I was not able to do anything to change that, this was something I could do to change the life of one small dog. And even though the dog never knew it, he was revenged to the nines by me.
Do I feel bad today.. only in that I could have caused trouble for others but at the time as a child I did not think of that. I did not hurt or maim anyone ..I cost them money and sleep and some fear.
You see that is my nature, revenge.. for animals.. and children.
I say this because many do not understand how painful it is to know such things as the suffering of those little monkeys.. it is a physical pain and a mental pain.. I suffer with them. That little dog, I could not sleep, I cried for him and it hurt my heart as a child.. so I acted, and that action allowed me some peace. Many do not understand that to me those monkeys are no different than seeing children in those cages, or ripping a baby from the arms of its mother. To me all of Gods creations are equal in pain and suffering. Some do not understand such pain, its only an animal they say.
I will tell you that to some, such pain is unbearable and they must do something.
My Dad after our dog was stolen never allow another animal in the house as he feared that my grief over its loss would destroy me, and so until he married my Mom and she got a little dog there were no more animals. My Dad never imagined that a person could suffer so at the loss of an animal.. but we are here, and we are in pain. Some strike out at the cause of such pain.. DaVinci was wrong there is no day in which men will see the killing of an animal as the killing of a man, well not totally wrong as I see it that way. So many think that DaVinc1 was a brilliant man, but I tell you he would not sit at a meal with flesh eaters as he saw them as murders. But even this does not open the mind of others to the fact that some of us can not stand the pain of animals. We suffer with them, and when no one stop the suffering they reach out and try to do so in what they see as an evil and uncaring world..
Many should thank God for saving me, nasty evil men are safe from me and I leave their punishment to my Father . But I only do this to please my Father and of course I fear to step across that line.
I would never have been on the evening news, not standing on the deck of the Sea Shepperd. But I would have caused pain and suffering.
So I understand what drives others to do the things that they do... and yet I could only hurt them in ways that did not damage their bodies, only their minds and pocket books.. you know where it hurts the most.
So I would like folks to consider that when they are judging those who fight for the rights of animals not to suffer at the hands of man.
It is strange to me that others do not realize that if some folks enjoy the suffering and killing of animals and it give them pleasure, that others would be brutalized by such evil and it give them pain. Pain that is capable of driving a man insane if it is not stopped. And for these men doing nothing is not an option. It was not for me, I could not sleep nor get such evil out of my head .. action was the only relief.
Faith in my Father has saved me from such a fate, but others are not so blessed. And a little part of me cheers them on.. sorry but I am what I am.. and I can tell you this, those who love animals do not eat them. They could not for it is ashes in their mouth ..
It is good I have Jesus to follow, for my nature is not as his is, which is why I need him more than most.. but then he did whip the money changers who were selling animals to be killed as a gift to God. That is what they were selling in the temple.. animals... that God created.. is their there anything more evil than killing one of Gods creations and sending it burnt body back to me.. that is a trick satan likes, and you can bet it was his idea.. Jesus never killed animals for his Father .. and why.. because it was evil.. Satan is a nasty piece of work who loves suffering of any of God creations its just sad so many do not know that. And he loves that man does such evil .. if there are animals being killed satan is smiling because he knows this is not the paradise that our Father gave us but a graveyard for his creations.