Long-tailed macaques are the primary primate species used in toxicity tests. This involves restraining the monkeys who are dosed via a tube that is forced into their stomachs without an anaesthetic. The dosing can be daily for months or years with side effects including vomiting, fitting, internal bleeding, and death.
CLAIRE COLLEY: The macaque panics frantically, trying to escape the net, then cowers down, trapped and frozen in fear. She’s pinned to the ground by a trapper’s foot with her front limbs forcibly pulled behind her back… Another, a baby, clinging on desperately, is dragged by her tail by her mother. Thrust into sacks or bundled into crates, the macaques huddle together for the pretence of safety. An unwanted male macaque is then beaten, throat slit, and discarded as waste.
These distressing scenes of trappers in Indonesia inflicting extreme cruelty on wild long-tailed macaques during their capture, as they begin their journey from the Indonesian jungle to life in a cage in a research facility, have been captured in footage released by Action for Primates.
In 2021, the Indonesian government reinstated the capture and export of macaques for sale to research labs, which has resulted in a recent rise in primates being ‘harvested’ from the wild for use in laboratories, according to researchers. This has led the International Primatological Society to call on the industry to end their use of wild-caught monkeys, including their blood and body parts, calling the billion-dollar trade a “major threat to primate conservation.”
Between 2008 and 2019, 450,000 live long-tailed macaques were exported from Asia and Mauritius for use in research and testing, with over 50,000 wild-caught. Data shows that more than 700,000 “specimens” including blood, tissue, and body parts from an unknown number of macaques were also exported from Asia. There are fears the actual number is significantly higher.
The USA, the world’s largest importer of primates for research, has imported an increasing number of wild macaques – the most recent data shows an increase from 174 in 2019 to 2,285 in 2020 from Cambodia and Mauritius. There’s almost nothing worse you can do than confine them in a cage… China, Canada, Germany, France, and Japan, all use huge numbers of primates in research. In 2021, 2,679 experiments were performed on macaques in the UK…
The long-tailed macaque, a native of Southeast Asia, is the most heavily traded primate for use in laboratories. Historically, the trade relied on the capture of wild macaques. However, the 1990s saw an increase in industrialised scale monkey farms in Cambodia, China, Laos, Mauritius, Vietnam, and now Indonesia. Tens of thousands of macaques are held in barren, concrete, wire mesh pens devoid of foliage, a cruel contrast to their lush forest homes.
Dr Lisa Jones-Engel, a primatologist and Fulbright Scholar, said: “Macaques are incredibly social and clever, there’s almost nothing worse you can do than confine them in a cage.” Indeed, the increase in the capture of wild primates mirrors the rise in the export of farmed macaques. The number exported by Cambodia to the USA almost tripled in two years, from 6,562 in 2018 to 19,582 in 2020…
Macaques exported for research are transported in small transit crates and endure journeys of up to 48 hours as cargo on planes. In 2021, several monkeys died on a Wamos Air flight from Cambodia to the USA… Little is known about the financial value of the trade, however, research shows that from 2010-2019, the international trade in macaques was worth $1.25 billion. Macaques are sold for up to $10,000 in the USA commercial market. The high price that dealers pay for wild-caught macaques in Cambodia – which are then laundered to farms or smuggled abroad – has potentially led to their being wiped out from much of the country.
Dr Jones-Engel, a senior science advisor to animal rights group Peta, said: “Experimenters’ thirst for more and more monkeys is fuelling this lucrative trade. The animal experimentation industry has placed a target on these species and when enormous sums of money are involved monkeys die – and perhaps disappear entirely. “The decimation of these species by the primate experimentation industry is going to have profound consequences”… Over the last ten years, more than 250,000 macaques were imported to America’s research facilities and there are currently 108,526 monkeys in American laboratories. The USA has seven primate research centres.
Long-tailed macaques are the primary primate species used in toxicity tests carried out to assess the side effects of drugs or chemicals. This involves restraining the monkeys who are injected or dosed via a tube that is forced into their stomachs using a process called “gavaging”. This is done without an anaesthetic. The dosing can be daily for months or years with side effects including vomiting, fitting, internal bleeding, and death. “Macaques are the ‘throwaway’ monkey,” says Dr Jones-Engel. SOURCE…