Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Christmas gift of new life for laboratory monkeys

Posted: 22 December 2009. Updated: 23 December 2009

ADI takes monkeys to sanctuary as Europe considers new rules for experiments on primates

Three laboratory monkeys, due to die before the new year, have been saved by Animal Defenders International (ADI) and are now starting a new life at a sanctuary in the UK.

The three macaques, which had been used in neurology experiments at a major European animal research laboratory, were no longer required and were scheduled to die by the end of the year. The laboratory responded positively when ADI offered to home the animals and a race against the clock began to find a new home for the animals.

ADI has led the campaign to end experiments on primates across Europe, so the handing over of the monkeys in the past few days can be described as a remarkable Christmas truce.

“The laboratory wishes to remain anonymous, but are to be commended for giving these monkeys the chance of a new life”, said Tim Phillips, Campaigns Director of ADI.

The move takes place as the European Commission, European Parliament, and Council of Ministers agree new rules for laboratory animals, with special attention to the use of primates, which causes such concern to the public due to their intelligence and clear emotions.

The lucky little monkeys, Bacill, Baloo and Bacillusk were handed to ADI at a European airport and flown direct to the UK. They were taken to the quarantine unit at Lakeview Monkey Sanctuary in Berkshire, which specializes in care for rescued macaque monkeys in a tranquil woodland setting.

At just 8 years old, they could live to the age of 30, so have the prospect of many happy years, in a large natural enclosure funded by ADI.

See Photos of the monkey move

Tim Phillips ADI Campaigns Director who collected the monkeys and brought them to the UK: “Over 10,000 monkeys die in European laboratories every year so it was incredibly moving to see these animals race out of their ADI travel crates knowing that they have decades of life ahead of them.”

“This is an especially poignant time – as these monkeys start a new life, the European Parliament, European Commission and Council of Ministers are finalising decisions on new European rules on animal experiments. Restrictions on monkey experiments and their supply from abroad have been one of the major debates this year. The monkeys we now have in our care are an important reminder to the politicians that they are not deciding the fate of test tubes and petri dishes, these are intelligent, emotional, sensitive beings.”

Europe decides on the fate of monkeys in experiments

The Europe-wide rules for animal experimentation are currently being revised for the first time in almost twenty years. After a year of discussion, compromise regulations are being finalised in trialogue discussions between the European Parliament, European Commission and Council of Ministers. The new Directive will replace Directive 86/609.

The European Commission had proposed restrictions on how monkeys could be used in experiments and measures to stop the capture of wild monkeys by dealers supplying EU laboratories. ADI has been dismayed to see these mild proposals seriously weakened by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers.

Almost all laboratory monkeys are born of wild caught parents. This means that whilst laboratories claim not to use wild caught monkeys, the dealers that supply them are in fact constantly capturing animals from the wild to re-stock their breeding farms.

Bacill, Baloo and Bacillusk saved by ADI this week, were part of this trade. Their parents had been torn from the wild in Mauritius, their offspring sold to a dealer in Israel, Mazor Farm, who sold the animals on to the research facility that eventually handed them to ADI.

The Commission had proposed that the sale of monkeys born of wild caught parents to EU labs would be phased out in seven years. But this been delayed and may even be put off indefinitely. This means that thousands of monkeys will continue to be torn from the wild to satisfy European demand, a trade that is not sustainable. The IUCN has announced that all primate species are under threat – almost half are now either endangered or critically endangered.

Tim Phillips: “Against all the odds, three little monkeys have a future and will grow old climbing trees and at play. We hold very different views to the laboratory that handed over these animals but appreciate that we were able to come together for the sake of these animals. I hope that the politicians reviewing regulations for laboratory animals will see these animals and appreciate that they have real lives in their hands and consider serious protection measures.”

ADI would like to thank PBS International for its help in organising the transportation of the monkeys; and Djurrattsalliansen who alerted ADI to the monkeys.

For information on Mazor Farm, click here

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