Warning: Distressing Content
Footage has emerged of young monkeys being taken from their parents and used for tests in laboratories.
The footage was filmed at a facility in the Netherlands, however the use of monkeys in breeding farms is on the rise in the UK, despite EU laws against it.
Today, September 1, is International Primate Day, and campaign group Animal Defenders International (ADI) are calling on governments to explain the rise in the cruel and unnecessary practice, and accelerate its phasing out.
Warning, distressing content:
According to ADI, 246 offspring of wild-caught monkeys were used in British labs last year. Offspring of wild-caught monkeys are known as F1 primates, while their parents are F0.
Under EU law, the use of F1 primates will be phased out and prohibited by November 2022. However, with the uncertainty of Brexit on the horizon before then, there are serious concerns the UK could abandon these rules.
ADI chief Jan Creamer said:
The public will be horrified to learn that not only is Britain still a major primate user, but it allows researchers to use monkeys whose parents have been taken from the wild and used as breeding machines too.
The UK effectively encourages dealers in Vietnam and Mauritius to stock their factory farms by trapping wild monkeys.
From 2014 to 2016, no F1 primates were used in British labs, and only one was used in 2017. Now, however, there has been an alarming rise in the use of primates in British labs. The UK is reportedly one of the largest primate users in Europe, with more than 2,600 long-tailed macaques being imported into Britain last year.
While in the US, over 75,000 primates were used in labs in 2017, a six percent increase from 2016. Most of the imported animals were also long-tailed macaques, one of the most common species used for animal testing.
According to ADI, most primates in the UK and US are used for regulatory safety testing of substances. For these tests, the ADI say the monkeys can experience force-feeding, injections of experimental compounds, and being restrained in chairs, all of which can have life-threatening side effects.
To combat the rise of the use of primates in laboratories, ADI are calling on members of the public to urge the government to support the phase out of primate use in labs, and accelerate a ‘move away from animal models towards more human-relevant research methods’.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.