Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI announce the launch of the Save the Primates investigation

Posted: 4 February 2009


Today a groundbreaking new documentary revealing the all too visible distress that lab primates face on a daily basis is revealed by Animal Defenders International (ADI). The ‘Save The Primates’ investigation exposes every aspect of the global primate trade across three continents, including one of Europe’s largest testing facilities – Huntingdon Life Sciences in Cambridgeshire.

The international campaign launch comes as MEPs have an unprecedented opportunity to phase out primate experiments altogether for the first time in over two decades.

The ADI video ‘Save The Primates’ reveals:
In South America owl monkeys scream as they are torn from the trees of the rainforest and from their families to be taken for malaria experiments in Colombia.

In Asia, monkeys in rusting, collapsing cages desperately shake their tiny prisons at a monkey supplier in Vietnam that has been approved by the UK Home Office, and in one year, supplied almost 500 monkeys to HLS.

In the UK, the most vivid insight ever of primates in commercial testing has been caught on film at Huntingdon Life Sciences in Cambridgeshire, with struggling monkeys strapped into chairs and forced to inhale products. Many are housed in 1 cubic metre cages and then taken out to be held down by workers as tubes are forced down their throats.

HLS in Cambridgeshire is a major contract testing operation for multi-national product brands which can hold up to 550 monkeys at a time. During the one-year ADI undercover investigation, 217 monkeys were killed in just five studies.

The new ‘Save the Primates’ report and investigation are part of a never-before-attempted comprehensive study linking primate research and the international primate trade to the alternatives that are now available.

MEPs will be first to see the video, which will be introduced by MEP Jens Holm together with ADI. The screening coincides with consideration in the European Parliament of new rules for the use of animals in experiments – the revision of Directive 86/609. This s seen as the start of the largest drive in the EU to end the use of primates in experiments.
ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer says “There is a unique opportunity in Europe to finally begin phasing out experiments on primates. Nobody looking at the undercover footage of monkeys at this leading UK laboratory could fail to be moved by the stress and suffering these animals are forced to endure. Yet there are alternatives to using monkeys in these tests. Now that the truth of everyday suffering has been revealed, we must seize the opportunity to put an end to it.”

Following an Animal Defenders International (ADI) campaign across Europe, there is considerable momentum for strong measures to end experiments on primates.

In September 2007, the European Parliament adopted a Declaration co-originated by ADI calling for bans on the use of wild-caught primates and great apes, along with a timetable for phasing out the use of all primates in experiments. 55% of MEPs signed the Declaration, making it the most supported on an animal protection matter ever.

For the first time ever the Save The Primates DVD has been produced in six different languages – English, French, German, Italian, Polish, and Spanish – with a drive to secure Europe-wide support for an end to primate tests.

“The documentary Save the Primates shows the shocking and cruel reality of animal experiments,” said Jens Holm MEP, GUE/NGL, Sweden. “Everyone who believes that animal experiments are carried out in a manner well regulated by law and with proper regard to the animals’ needs, should see this highly revealing documentary."

John Bowis, Conservative MEP for London added “Primates need our protection. I cannot accept testing at all on our great apes or on primates taken from their wild habitats. So let’s take them out of it and then move to validated alternatives for the rest.”


For further information, contact ADI Public Relations Officer, Ally MacDonald
Tel: 020 7630 3344. Mobile: 07785 552548

Or Allison Tuffrey Jones. Mobile: 07970 685286

Interviews with Jan Creamer, Chief Executive, and Tim Phillips, Campaigns Director are available live from Strasbourg on Wednesday 4th February or
in London on Thursday, 5th February.

High quality images/video footage/audio are available.

Copies of the ‘Save The Primates’ leaflet and ‘Primate Testing in Europe’ report are available

More information can be found on


Primate facts
•Over 10,000 primates die in European labs each year and an estimated 10% of EU lab primates are taken from the wild.
•Nearly half (48%) of the world’s primates are in danger of extinction* according to the ICUN Red List 2008, the extinction threat has nearly doubled in a year - from 26% in 2007.
•Habitat destruction, through the burning and clearing of tropical forests, which also emits at least 20% of the global greenhouse gases, is a major threat to primates. Other threats include the hunting of primates for food and an illegal wildlife trade in addition to their use in experiments.
•Primates are important to the health of their surrounding ecosystems. Through the dispersal of seeds and other interactions with their environments, primates help support a wide range of plant and animal life in the world’s tropical forests. Healthy forests provide vital resources for local human populations, and also absorb and store carbon dioxide that causes climate change.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List sets the series of criteria for a species to be categorized as threatened.

The full text of the proposal to revise 86 609 EEC (released on November 5th, 2008) is available here:

The full text of Written Declaration 40 and details of signatories is available here:

MEP Screening of ‘Save the Primates’:
on: Wednesday 4th February 2009
at: 14:00 – 15:00 (Strasbourg time)
13:00 – 14:00 (GMT)
in: Room S2.1,Louise Weiss Building, European Parliament, Strasbourg.
Host: Mr Jens Holm MEP GUE/NGL, Sweden
Speakers:Mr David Martin MEP PSE, UK,
Mr Carl Schlyter MEP Green Party, Sweden,
Ms Mojca Drčar Murko ALDE Slovenia

Jens Holm, MEP: Prior to his position in the European Parliament Mr Holm worked as an investigative journalist. Among other things he made the documentary “Monkeys for sale” which revealed Sweden’s imports of monkeys from China – the trade was stopped.

© Animal Defenders International 2019