The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) is calling for the European Union to begin its declaration to phase out the use of monkeys in experiments, after it released what it called “shocking” images of a Mauritian monkey breeding factory.

Findings from the NAVS investigation of Biodia, one of several Mauritian farms breeding long-tailed macaques for experiments, it said, include:

  • distressed babies tattooed without anaesthesia
  • monkeys restrained and injected in view of other animals
  • reliance on the capture of wild animals for re-stocking breeding colonies barren, crowded cages
  • animals killed and injured from fighting
  • stressful separation of mothers and babies and rough handling, including monkeys wrenched from cages by their tails
  • netted animals slammed on to concrete floors

According to the NAVS, these monkeys are flown in their hundreds to UK laboratories on Air France flights. Once here, the primates are used mainly to test drugs or for neurological research, undergoing procedures such as force-feeding, injections of experimental compounds, electrode implantation into the brain and full body immobilisation in restraint chairs while being experimented on.

Investigations of UK laboratories by the NAVS, it said, have found monkeys suffer rectal prolapse from the stress of being restrained, as well as blackened lungs, trembling, collapse, bleeding and self-mutilation. Most monkeys are killed at the end of the experiment, it said, while others are forced to endure years in laboratory cages.

NAVS chief executive Jan Creamer said: “Just as the use of great apes was abandoned decades ago, it is time to end the use of all primates in research.

“The pain, suffering and clear distress caused to these intelligent, emotional animals is inexcusable when there are advanced alternatives already available. Such crude and outdated animal research methods can be replaced with quicker, cheaper and scientifically superior methods – the cutting edge of modern science.”

According to the NAVS, the Home Office has conceded it no longer checks and approves overseas breeding facilities, instead leaving it up to laboratories.

More than 1,500 monkeys were imported into the UK for experiments in 2012, nearly 1,000 of those from Mauritius.

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