A new report says trappers routinely break the arms and legs of wild long-tailed monkeys (macaques) on the island of Mauritius as they catch the primates for use on breeding farms. The island exports 10,000 monkeys each year to research labs around the world.
The island of Mauritius is a tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean. It is a vacation spot for many tourists. But the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) uncovered Mauritius is a land of suffering for thousands of monkeys that are torn from their families and imprisoned on factory breeding farms and then shipped to research institutions.
A new report called Mauritius the “world’s largest supplier of wild-caught and captive-born long-tailed macaques for research.” And who is the largest importer of these highly social and intelligent animals?
The United States is the biggest; importing 3,179 long-tailed macaques in 2009.
The Associated Press revealed that Mauritius has four major breeding farms and a fifth farm that will open soon. Monkeys are a profitable business for the lush island, but the primates are treated like inventory and are often abused.
The video at the bottom of this story shows one monkey being swung by its tail and other macaques huddled in their cages showing signs of fear and stress.
Macaques Are Protected
The Convention for the Trade in Endangered Species lists the long-tailed monkeys as protected, but Mauritius gets around this ruling because the primates are not considered native to the island.
Instead they are thought of as pests that do not deserve any conservation rights.
So thousands of macaques are trapped each year and taken away from their natural families. BUAV says this is an especially cruel act because long-tailed monkeys have strong ties to their biological families.
Sara Kite with BUAV said, “We call on the government of Mauritius to put an end to this brutal trade and for the USA, European Union and Israel to ban primate imports and stop perpetuating this appalling cruelty.”
The Need For Wild Monkeys
You might think the breeding farms would make it unnecessary to trap any of the wild monkeys, but because of the large demand for research primates, the wild macaques are needed to replenish the “breeding stock.” They also produce F1 generation monkeys, which are the off-spring of wild-caught parents.
Some countries like the UK have a ban on importing wild-caught primates, but F1 generation (captive born monkeys) are allowed for use in research. So, breeding farms win twice. First they trap wild-macaques and mate them to have babies.
Then they are sell the wild-caught parents to countries that condone the policy and export the captive-born offspring to countries that only allow F1 generation monkeys. Even breeding monkeys has loopholes.
Each year up to 10,000 macaques are exported from Mauritius to the UK, France, Spain, the U.S.A., Israel and Puerto Rico. According to BUAV the monkeys are sold for around $4,000 each.
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