Tomorrow a petition signed by some of conservation’s heavy-weights will be handed into the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, calling for the UK to ban imports of young monkeys born to wild-caught parents for scientific research.
The campaign, led by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) has been endorsed by world renown Primatologist Dr Jane Goodall, conservationist Ian Redmond as well as a host of other leading academics; scientists and celebrities.
According to BUAV, many infant primates used for scientific research in UK laboratories are imported from countries such as Mauritius. There is a UK ban on using wild-caught primates for research which has been in place since 1977, but there’s still a gaping loophole surrounding the issue of off-spring.
At present, there is no law in place to prevent the young of wild-caught primates being used in experiments or indeed those bred in captivity from wild-caught parents.
Ian Redmond OBE, field biologist and conservationist said, “In the 21st century, knowing what we do about primate cognition and their capacity to suffer, it is totally unacceptable to capture wild monkeys to breed babies for what is essentially a 19th century approach to medical science.
“New research tools make the use of non-human primates as living test-tubes obsolete. Rather, we should value the role of monkeys and apes as keystone species in their habitats – especially the tropical forest ecosystems that we urgently need to protect to stabilise our changing climate and provide rainfall to water the world.”
A recent BUAV investigation into monkey farms in Mauritius (September 2010), exposed the cruelty and suffering inflicted on monkeys as they are taken from their jungle homes and families for the international research industry. These images are from this investigation.
Vernon Reynolds, Professor Emeritus, Oxford University and founder of the Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda said: “As a lifelong primatologist and a senior member of the academic community I was shocked to realise this was going on so that our medical laboratories can have ‘subjects’ to use for experiments.”
The petition will be handed into ten Downing Street tomorrow morning and also has signatures from 100 British MPs.