International Primate Day: Monkey rescuers highlight terrible toll of human exploitation on wild and captive primates

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International Primate Day: Monkey rescuers highlight terrible toll of human exploitation on wild and captive primates

August 31, 2015 – The organization behind the rescue of more than 50 primates from the illegal wildlife trade, circuses, laboratories and the pet trade says governments must do more to help primates in peril in the wild and captivity. On the tenth International Primate Day, September 1st 2015, Animal Defenders International (ADI) is calling on legislators to prohibit the capture of wild primates, and take measures to end their use in entertainment, research and as pets.

ADI President Jan Creamer said: “Governments must take action to end the exploitation and abuse of our primate cousins. These incredibly intelligent, sociable species urgently need our protection, both in the wild and captivity.”

ADI has exposed the suffering of primates around the world, for entertainment, research and as pets, for over 20 years, documenting hellish conditions for primates at attractions like ‘Monkey School’ in South Korea, chimpanzees riding bicycles in a show in Germany, and exposing the suffering of monkeys used for crude and outdated experiments.

Over the past year, ADI has been assisting authorities in Peru to enforce a ban on wild animals in circuses. Operation Spirit of Freedom has involved the rescue of almost 40 monkeys from the illegal wildlife trade, many of whom have been relocated to the Amazon rainforest.

Many rescued individuals have had their teeth broken by owners, requiring specialist dental surgery to end what was, for some animals, years of pain. Gentle Pepe’s canine teeth were snapped off in the circus, leaving him with just stumps. After years spent alone and chained by the neck in the circus, ADI has relocated Pepe to a sanctuary in the jungle where he lives with five other spider monkeys.

One spider monkey rescued by ADI, Annie, has become the face of a public awareness campaign in Peru. “Your house is not my home” encouraging people not to keep primates as pets.

Primates are highly complex animals who require companionship of their own kind and an environment that meets both their physical and psychological needs. Without it, primates become bored, frustrated and invariably develop abnormal, stereotypic behaviors.

The primate trade itself involves cruelty and suffering during capture, breeding and dealing of the animals, regardless of the animals’ purpose or destination or the reason it is being acquired.

Primates snatched from the wild can end up in farms which breed thousands of individuals for experiments. Mauritius is a major international supplier of long-tailed macaque monkeys for laboratories. On the tropical island, individuals can be captured from the wild and locked up in farms which breed thousands of individuals for experiments. ADI has exposed monkey farm workers swinging screaming monkeys by their tails, distressed baby monkeys torn from the arms of their desperate mothers and tattooed without anesthesia, monkeys injected in the eyelids for TB tests, barren and crowded cages, animals killed and injured from fighting, and heavily pregnant monkeys pinned down and manhandled.

ADI has exposed similar scenes in Spain at a ‘distribution-hub’ run by another dealer operating out of Mauritius supplying US laboratories.

ADI is fighting plans for a monkey breeding facility in Florida which could import thousands of monkeys from Mauritius. A number of monkey breeders already operate out of the state, raising serious economic, environmental, agricultural, animal welfare, and public health concerns, provoking growing local opposition.

When monkeys from breeding facilities reach laboratories, they may be force-fed chemicals, have electrodes implanted into their brains, or be injected with potentially poisonous substances. The intelligent, social animals can be strapped into restraint chairs which immobilize them for hideous experiments; some suffer rectal prolapse as a result of the stress. Most monkeys are killed at the end of the experiments. Others are forced to endure years of deprivation in barren cages.

70% of primates in EU laboratories are used for crude toxicology tests despite the fact that “there are no regulatory guidelines that specifically require the use of primates and there is scope to review the scientific rationale for their use”, according to the UK National Centre for the 3Rs and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

Superior alternatives to animal tests such as micro-dosing could be used to rapidly replace toxicity and other tests currently undertaken on primates. Micro-dosing involves giving ultra-low, safe, doses of new compounds to human volunteers and responses can then be analyzed by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS). AMS is able to directly count individual atoms and is so sensitive it has the ability to detect a liquid compound even after one liter of it has been diluted in the world’s oceans.

Please help primates this International Primate Day with a donation to fund ADI’s vital work

UK National Centre for the 3Rs and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

Alternatives to toxicology tests on primates

International Primate Day was established by Animal Defenders International in 2005 to highlight the threats to and abuses of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom – apes and monkeys – from their use in entertainment and research, and for meat and the pet trade.

Animal Defenders International: With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.

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