Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

2 million sign on to the Berlin Declaration for International Primate Day, 1 September 2005

Posted: 15 November 2005. Updated: 16 April 2015

The first International Primate Day is being inaugurated today, 1 September 2005, by Animal Defenders International (ADI), to urge governments everywhere to save primates from extinction and protect their habitat.

With film actor Peter Polycarpou, ADI will deliver a giant ‘Will you be our Prime Mate’ Valentine card to Tony Blair from all the primates in the world at 10.30am and on the same day at 3pm local time, George Bush will receive a Prime Mate Valentine card at the White House in Washington DC.
At Central London tube stations throughout the morning commuters will be handed ‘Will you be My Prime Mate?’ cards to send as Valentines. For those outside London the Valentine Prime Mate e-cards can be sent from the website at

2 million sign-on for International Primate Day
International Primate Day marks a major achievement in rallying nearly 70 international animal protection groups with a combined membership of nearly 2 million, to sign on the Berlin Declaration (see list below).

At the 5th World Congress on Alternatives & Animals Use in the Life Sciences in Berlin on 22 August 2005, the Berlin Declaration was announced by Dr Jane Goodall, to bring about a global commitment to end primate experiments everywhere.

UNEP and UNESCO are holding an Intergovernmental Meeting on the survival of Great Apes from 5-9 September 2005 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A Declaration on Great Apes is being proposed to ensure the long-term survival of the great apes and their habitat.

Public opinion in the UK has turned against primate experiments and only 18% now oppose a ban of live animals in circuses - a mere 8% strongly disagreeing to it. TV chefs like James Martin are supporting ADI’s call to take bushmeat off the menu and the wild life pet trade has been the subject of parliamentary calls to stop the selling and buying of primates.

Leading scientists find use of primates in research misleading
A group of scientists based in Denmark and the USA have highlighted the necessity to reconsider the use of primates in research. The team, led by Professor Rasmus Nielsen of Copenhagen University, compared genes found in humans to their equivalent genes in chimpanzees1. They found that the genes which differ the most between humans and chimpanzees are those related to immune defence and cancer development. They also identified that the genes which are most similar between humans and chimpanzees are those which are expressed in the brain. Genes encode information essential for the construction and regulation of proteins (such as enzymes) and other molecules that determine the growth and functioning of an organism. Therefore they form the basis of how a human or animal develops and responds to its environment.
By identifying that immune defence and cancer development genes differ greatly between these two species, Nielsen and colleagues have drawn attention to the fact that using primates as research tools is misleading. The results obtained from chimpanzees and other primates with regards to drugs, toxicity, disease and cancer research would be inaccurate when applied to humans. This is because the huge genetic differences between them dictate that humans and primates would respond differently to an immune system invasion, and their respective development of tumours and cancers would also be different.
The fact that the genes which are expressed in the brain are very similar between humans and chimpanzees underlines another reason why the use of primates in research should be avoided. This evidence stands in favour of the often-quoted ethical argument that primates and other animals should not be used in research due to their ability to feel pain. With gene expression in the brain so similar between humans and chimpanzees, it is possible to conclude that non-human primates can feel similar pain and distress to humans, and that they will suffer as a result of experimental manipulation in much the same way as humans would.

1 Nielsen R., C. Bustamante et al. (2005) A scan for positively selected genes in the genomes of humans and chimpanzees. PLOS Biology 3(6): e170 July 2005.
The full text and abstract of the article can be viewed online:

International Primate Day focuses on the plight of primates and the following issues:

Bushmeat, the single biggest threat to the survival of the Great Apes and monkeys, is fuelled by commercial logging activity in sensitive habitat areas in Africa, Asia, and South America. Illegal hunting of wild life has become a £12 billion industry.
Primates suffer terribly from confinement, deprivation and abuse to make them perform for circuses, TV, advertising, and films.
Primate Pets
None of us like to be alone, but that is the fate of most primate pets. Wholly unsuited to a life of isolation from their own kind they suffer by being in an unnatural environment – imagine never speaking to anyone who knows your language.
The UK has become Europe’s largest user of laboratory monkeys with around 5,000 experiments on record for 2003 (latest recorded government figures). The USA, where ADI is also staging events, is the world’s biggest user of laboratory primates.

International Animal Protection Groups that have signed on the Berlin Declaration for International Primate Day.

Animal Defenders International
Advocates for Animals
AESOP-Project (Allied Effort to Save Other Primates)
Alliance for Animals Primate Project
Alternatives Research and Development Foundation
American Anti-Vivisection Society
Animals Asia Foundation – Hong Kong
Animal Consultants International
Animal Protection Institute
Ape Alliance
Ban Ape Research
Born Free Foundation
BV Tierversuchsgegner
C.A.R.E (Care for Animal Rehabilitation & Education)
CAPS (The Captive Animals Protection Society)
Cetacean Society International
Conservacion de Mamiferos Marinos de Mexico Comarino
Croydon Animal Aid
David Alexander
Deutscher Tiershutzbund
Doris Day Animal League
Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals
Dyrenes Beskttelse
East Lancashire Animal Welfare
Eurogroup for Animal Welfare
Grampian Animal Defence League
Harborough Animal Concern
International Primate Protection League
Java (Japan Anti-vivisection Association)
Juliana von Wendt Fund
LAV – Lega Anti Vivisezione
Lord Dowding Fund for Humane Research
NAVS (National Anti-Vivisection Society UK)
New England Anti-Vivisection Society
NGO Action for Animal Ethics
Nina Rosa Institute
Noah – Federation of Animal Protection Organisation Israel
Noah - Norway
NZAVS (NZ Anti-Vivisection Society)
PACE (People Against Chimpanzee Experiments)
PASA (Pan African Sanctuary Alliance)
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
People Against Animal Experiments
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
PETA India
Pro Wildlife
ProFauna Indonesia
SAEN of NC (Stop Animal Exploitation Now of North Carolina)
Southampton Animal Concern
SPAR (Sonoma People for Animal Rights)
Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
The Fauna Foundation
The Fauna Sanctuary
The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust
The National Council of SPCAs (SPCas)
UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Project
World Society for the Protection of Animals
Zoocheck Canada

Click here to read more about ADI’s call to end primate research

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