Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

House of Lords backs measures to end capture of wild monkeys and to restrict monkey experiments

Posted: 11 November 2009. Updated: 9 December 2009


Every year thousands of monkeys are torn from the wild and their families to restock breeding colonies in factory farms in Asia and Mauritius that supply European laboratories. A new report published by the House of Lords EU Committee has this week backed proposals by the European Commission to end the practice.


Animal Defenders International (ADI), who gave written and oral evidence to the Lords EU Committee inquiry into the revision of the EU Directive 86/609 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, have welcomed this and several other recommendations by the Lords.

Earlier this year, following intense lobbying by primate suppliers and primate experimentation facilities, the European Parliament seriously weakened European Commission proposals to end the wild capture of monkeys by dealers and to restrict primate use.

The House of Lords, who received submissions from laboratories, including Huntingdon Life Sciences, and monkey suppliers involved in wild capture, have backed restricting experiments on monkeys to life-threatening and debilitating human diseases and supported a phase out of the use of monkeys born of wild caught parents, albeit “monitored closely”.

Tim Phillips, ADI Campaigns Director who gave evidence to the Lords’ Committee, said: “10,000 monkeys are used in experiments in Europe every year, most of these are born of parents snatched from the wild. Europe is therefore continuing to fuel the capture of thousands of wild macaque monkeys to stock breeding farms in Asia – a region where the species is now in widespread and rapid decline. We have filmed undercover with the monkey trappers, exposed conditions inside the factory farms that feed the labs, and revealed how monkeys live and die inside British laboratories. This is an industry of almost unparalleled animal suffering. We would have liked the Lords to have gone further, but this is clear recognition of the problem.”

The report also included several other measures that ADI has been campaigning to secure including:

  • A ban on severe and prolonged suffering during animal experiments;
  • Protection of embryonic life forms in the final third before birth (many experiments are performed on chick embryos);
  • Compulsory authorisation of all animal experiments – amendments adopted in the European Parliament would mean millions of animal experiments would require no prior authorisation;
  • Rejection of any form of notification or tacit approval which would allow animal testing to go ahead without proper safeguards;
  • To guarantee uniform standards across Europe, the Committee firmly endorsed arrangements for effective national inspection in Member States, and for a robust role for the Commission monitoring those arrangements.

Tim Phillips: “With the Commission, European Parliament and Council currently in trialogue discussions on the revision of the Directive this is a timely and welcome development. This represents very basic protection: That all animal experiments must be justified before they start; that monkeys should not be torn form the wild; that animal laboratories must be regularly inspected; that severe suffering of animals must not be prolonged. What is shocking is that such minimal protection has met with such fierce opposition from the animal experimentation industry.”

The new Directive for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, which was proposed in 2008 to replace the outdated EC Directive 86/609/EC, provides the greatest opportunity in over 25 years to influence the use of animals, and in particular primates, in laboratories.

More than half of all MEPs in the European Parliament signed a Declaration drafted by ADI in 2007, calling for a ban on the use of great apes and wild caught monkeys and for a timetable to phase out all primate experiments.


Visit Save the Primates.
Watch shocking footage of owl monkeys being trapped
Read more about the Trialogue Discussions.
Read the ADI Technical briefing pdf on the wild capture of primates for research.
Read more on the the ADI website

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