Action for Primates
The following are news releases for 2022. See elsewhere for news releases from other years.
21st July 2022: Wake-up call for future of long-tailed macaques as IUCN Red List updates its conservation status to Endangered
The long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) has been assessed as Endangered (previously it was assessed as Vulnerable) for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species in 2022. The IUCN has today published its update on the status assessment of the long-tailed macaque species and subspecies. This assessment Endangered A3cd is based on the current degree of exploitation of the species. This includes their trade for research and testing, as 'pets', for 'entertainment;, for human consumption as well as killing because of negative interactions with people. These, together with ongoing habitat destruction, are decimating wild populations of long-tailed macaques. Such activities are expected to result in a ≥50% decline in population size over the coming three generations (36-39 years) if not mitigated (https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/12551/199563077).
Sarah Kite, co-founder, Action for Primates, stated:
This is a wake-up call for how we view and interact with the long-tailed macaque. Because of the impact of human activities on the species and its habitat, especially the global trade in research and toxicity testing, the future of this intelligent non-human primate, who plays an important role in biodiversity and ecosystems, is seriously under threat. Given that human beings are the cause of this threat, we have a moral obligation to act now before it is too late to protect the long-tailed macaque.
The long-tailed macaque is the most heavily traded non-human primate species and the most widely used by the global research and toxicity (poisoning) testing industry. The trade in the species has developed into an industrialised scale enterprise focused within Southeast Asia, in particular China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Indonesia and the Philippines, with hundreds of thousands of macaques exported in recent years. The countries using the most long-tailed macaques are the US, China, Europe, Japan and Canada. An embargo on the export of long-tailed macaques from China to the US during the coronavirus pandemic led to a recent marked increase in exports from other countries, such as Cambodia and Mauritius, with a resumption in the trade from Indonesia and Laos. Cambodia has reported a surge in exports in recent years: 2015 (3,361), 2018 (9,610), 2019 (13,922) and 2020 (29,466).
Despite widespread global concerns about the inherent inhumanity of the capture of wild monkeys for breeding farms or for export, it is a practice that continues. Most recently, in 2021, the government of Indonesia allowed the capture and export of wild long-tailed macaques to resume. Hundreds of wild monkeys were subsequently torn from their natural habitat, family and social groups. Harrowing footage released by Action for Primates has shone a spotlight on the cruelty and suffering inflicted upon the macaques, including monkeys trapped inside large nets and forcibly removed by hand, often dragged out by their tails, stuffed into sacks or crammed into wooden crates; infants cruelly separated from their mothers; and the brutal beating and killing of unwanted alpha males. Click here for video.
The increase in global trade has placed further pressure on wild populations, including concerns of an illegal trade and the validity of captive breeding claims by supply companies. This is in addition to existing pressures such as the capture of wild macaques for domestic use in laboratories, to replenish breeding farms, to supply the 'pet' and 'entertainment' trade including the filming of abused baby macaques to post on social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook and hunting for human consumption. The long-tailed macaque is also relentlessly persecuted as a 'pest', the result of human encroachment on their natural habitat which results in negative interactions with people. In some countries, the solution to dealing with this is to kill the monkeys rather than using proven methods to resolve the situation humanely. For example, in Malaysia, data provided by the authorities show that between 2015-2018, 240,469 long-tailed macaques were killed because of negative interactions with people.
30 June 2022: Air France to stop transporting non-human primates to laboratories
Action for Primates is delighted to learn that, after decades of transporting non-human primates for laboratories, Air France has announced on Twitter that it has decided to stop transporting primates. It has stated that it will end it as soon as its current contractual commitments come to an end: https://twitter.com/afnewsroom/status/1542490334009204744
Air France has been a major transporter of non-human primates for decades, in particular long-tailed macaques from Mauritius and Vietnam, destined to be used in research and toxicity (poisoning) testing in laboratories in Europe and the USA. For example, monkeys are transported as cargo, usually on Air France passenger flights, from Mauritius to Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in Paris. From there, they are either flown on to Chicago, USA, or transported across Europe by road or air carriers. Concerned airline workers in the US and Europe have alerted Action for Primates to these shipments. On 14 April 2022, one such shipment involved 100 long-tailed macaques transported by Air France from Mauritius to Paris, and then transferred to another airline and flown to Manchester Airport, UK, a key destination for monkeys imported into the UK. The monkeys were destined for Labcorp, a global contract research company in Harrogate.
The Air France campaign has been global, running for many years and involving organisations from across the world, including Cruelty Free International, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments and PeTA. More recently, Action for Primates, One Voice and Stop Camarles have been running a campaign calling on the airline to stop flying monkeys to suffer and die in laboratories.
Action for Primates is grateful that Air France will now become part of the growing list of passenger airlines that have ended their involvement in the cruel international trade in non-human primates. These include American Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines, Eva Air, Air Canada, China Airlines and Kenya Airways. Many other passenger airlines and cargo companies have also declared their intent to not become involved in this cruel trade.
The international trade in non-human primates for laboratory use involves tens of thousands of monkeys being transported every year by airlines to destinations around the world. Monkeys are transported as cargo in crates that are too small to permit normal postural adjustments nor any exercise. They may have to endure inadequate ventilation, noise, extreme temperature fluctuations and delays en route. Monkeys have been injured or have died on these flights. For example, several monkeys were found dead on board a Wamos Air flight from Cambodia to Houston, Texas, in November 2021.
For further information:
Action for Primates
Web site: https://actionforprimates.org/
4 May 2022: Primate protection group appeals to Egyptair to stop transporting monkeys destined for research
Action for Primates, a UK-based project that campaigns on behalf of non-human primates globally, has appealed to Egyptair to stop transporting non-human primates to be used in research and toxicity testing. It has recently come to light that Egyptair is transporting long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) from Cambodia and Mauritius to the USA. One such shipment took place on 29th April 2022, involving 720 monkey flown from Cambodia to the USA (JFK) via Cairo, and involved over 21 hours flying and around five hours on the ground at Cairo airport. This did not include the hours spent being unloaded and transferred to and from airports.
The negative welfare issues surrounding the shipping of non-human primates are compelling. Studies carried out by scientists from within the research industry itself have shown that transportation causes profound negative effects on the behaviour and welfare of non-human primates (1,2,3). Monkeys are transported as cargo in crates that are too small to permit normal postural adjustments nor any exercise. They may have to endure inadequate ventilation, noise, extreme temperature fluctuations and delays en route. Statistics for primate deaths and illnesses, either during transportation or subsequently, are generally not publicised. There are, however, reports of monkeys found dead on arrival, including from Cambodia (4). On 15th November 2021, several monkeys were found dead on board a Wamos Air flight from Cambodia to Houston, USA (5).
In addition to welfare concerns surrounding transportation, there are also conservation issues to consider regarding the long-tailed macaque, including a lack of data on wild populations and questions surrounding the validity of captive breeding colonies. The species, the most heavily traded non-human primate species, is protected under Appendix II in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Further, a recent global assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List has increased the status of the long-tailed macaque to 'Vulnerable' with a decreasing population trend (6). A lack of population data for the species across its range has raised serious concerns about the conservation status of the species and the impacts of increasing demand on that status.
The transportation by airlines of non-human primates destined for the research and toxicity testing industry is an issue that invokes strong public concern. Many of the world's leading airlines including American Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines, South African Airways, Air China, China Airlines, Delta Airlines, Eva Air and Air Canada ended their involvement in this business. Kenya Airways is the latest airlines to join this list, having stopped transporting monkeys in February this year. Many other passenger airlines and cargo companies have also declared their intent to not become involved in this trade.
Dr Nedim. C. Buyukmihci, veterinary adviser to Action for Primates and an expert on the welfare and well-being of non-human primates, has written to Captain Ahmed Adel, Chairperson and CEO, Egyptair Airlines, urging the airline to join the numerous other airlines that no longer allow the shipping of non-human primates. There has been no response from Egyptair.
Action for Primates (AFP) is a UK-based project that campaigns on behalf of non-human primates globally. AFP raises awareness about the plight of and threats to non-human primates around the world and works to end their exploitation, whether in captivity or in the wild. Visit the AFP website: https://actionforprimates.org For further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
11 April 2022: Primate protection group calls for an end to the mass slaughter of long-tailed macaques in Malaysia and the adoption of humane prevention and intervention methods
11 April 2022: Action for Primates, a UK-based project that campaigns on behalf of non-human primates globally, has called the persecution and mass killing of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in Malaysia shocking and inhumane. The group is appealing to the Malaysian authorities to adopt humane methods to prevent and resolve negative interactions between people and monkeys.
According to a recent news report, 14,000 long-tailed macaques were killed in 2021 (1). Other data provided by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) show that a staggering 240,469 long-tailed macaques were killed between 2015-2018 (2).
The long-tailed macaque is a protected species under Appendix II on CITES. There is also a new global assessment of the species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species (3), the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. The status of the long-tailed macaque has been increased to 'Vulnerable' with a decreasing population trend, and a lack of population data for the species, reflecting increasing concerns about the conservation status of the species.
Negative interactions between people and non-human primates arise primarily because of the ever-increasing expansion into and destruction of wildlife habitat by people. Human activities, such as deforestation, increase in land cultivation and infrastructure developments, force wild animals to seek new places to live or go in search of food.
There are humane (and effective) methods that can be used to prevent 'conflicts' from arising and to resolve them when they do happen. Although monkeys are typically fearful of humans, if people feed or in any way tolerate or encourage their presence, the animals lose their innate fear of people. It is critical, therefore, that people do not encourage the monkeys in any way in order to reduce negative interactions. This includes not feeding the animals or having easily available food sources such as household waste, and not making attempts at being 'friendly' with the monkeys.
Public awareness programmes established to reduce intentional and unintentional feeding are important and humane ways to deter monkeys. The programme established by the Jane Goodall Institute in Singapore can be a model for other areas (4). Further, in Hong Kong (5) and Singapore (6), fines are imposed on those people who continue to feed wild monkeys.
Nedim C Buyukmihci, V.M.D., Emeritus Professor, University of California and adviser to Action for Primates, stated:
The killing of these monkeys is extremely inhumane. Given the impact human activities are having on the planet, increasingly usurping native habitat for wildlife, we have a moral obligation to learn to live with the consequences of our actions. We need to find humane ways in which we can coexist with other species rather than just eliminating them when problems arise. There is an urgent need for a humane management plan to be put in place in Malaysia, part of which should include a strict prohibition of people interacting with and feeding the monkeys.
Long-tailed macaques are an important part of the ecosystem, contributing to its biodiversity overall stability and health. The species deserves protection and to be treated humanely. The hostility shown towards long-tailed macaques and the use of language by the authorities such as
exterminate enemies of the crops (2) are likely to encourage further negativity towards and persecution of the species as being unworthy of welfare or conservation efforts.
For further information, please contact Action for Primates: email@example.com. Action for Primates is a UK-based project that campaigns on behalf of non-human primates globally; by raising awareness about the plight of and threats to non-human primates around the world and working to end their exploitation, whether in captivity or in the wild: https://actionforprimates.org
The 'No Feeding Campaign' aims at stopping the provision of food to macaques across Singapore within three years, through education and outreach activities like talks by our Wildlife Ambassadors and Monkey Walks, targeted research through a long-tailed macaque citizen science programme called the Monkey Scouts, and a Monkey Guards programme.
26 January 2022: Harrowing footage reveals cruel capture of Indonesia's wild monkeys destined to be exported for research
January 26th 2022: Action for Primates has released disturbing video footage that reveals the cruelty and violence inflicted on wild monkeys during their capture in Indonesia, including the beating and killing of unwanted individuals. Such brutal and inhumane treatment is a breach of international animal welfare guidelines (1). Action for Primates is calling on the Indonesian government to stop the capture and export of wild monkeys to be used in experiments, and to enact legislation that offers protection to the indigenous long-tailed macaque population.
In 2021, the government of Indonesia allowed the capture and export of wild long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) to resume (2). This is despite widespread global concerns about the inherent inhumanity of trapping wild monkeys (3) and increasing awareness of the vulnerability of the conservation status of this species (4). Hundreds of wild monkeys have subsequently been captured, torn from their natural habitat, family and social groups.
In the footage, released by Action for Primates, monkeys trapped inside large nets are seen being forcibly removed by hand, often dragged out by their tails. Others were pinned to the ground by a trapper's foot with their front limbs forcibly pulled behind their backs. They were either stuffed headfirst into sacks or crammed into wooden crates with others.
A callous and indifferent attitude was displayed towards the monkeys. On capture, infants were separated from their mothers, causing distress in both. Trappers laughed and joked while handling monkeys. The most brutal incident involved the killing of one captured male. Beaten down with a pole, the dazed and injured animal was dragged by his tail, held down and his throat was cut with a machete.
Nedim C Buyukmihci, V.M.D., University of California, stated:
Capturing non-human primates from the wild is unquestionably associated with substantial suffering. The handling and treatment of the monkeys as seen in the video footage is brutal and inhumane, and a clear breach of international animal welfare guidelines. Such cruelty the beating and killing of alpha males, removing infants from their mothers, dragging monkeys by their non-prehensile tails in a way that can lead to serious spinal cord injury, and pulling front limbs so forcibly behind their backs that dislocation and fractures could occur must not be tolerated. Nor must the trapping of wild monkeys. I urge other animal welfare practitioners to strongly object to the Indonesian authorities and international bodies.
Monkeys exported from Indonesia are mainly destined for laboratories in the USA and China. Export data submitted by Indonesia show that in 2020, Indonesia exported 2,793 long-tailed macaques to China and 120 to the USA (5), sourced as 'F'. Export figures for 2021 are expected to be higher and to include wild-caught monkeys. Long-tailed macaques are the primary non-human primate species used in regulatory toxicity tests, which is the area in which most non-human primates are used. Toxicity (or poisoning) testing is carried out to assess adverse reactions to drugs (or chemicals) and usually involves substantial suffering and death.
Sarah Kite, co-founder, Action for Primates stated:
This distressing footage is shocking proof of the brutality and inhumanity to which these sentient animals are subjected in the name of research. The resumption of the capture and export of long-tailed macaques by Indonesia is an alarming development, especially at a time when there is widespread global concern over and condemnation of the capture of wild non-human primates. Action for Primates urges the government of Indonesia to stop this cruelty and protect the long-tailed macaque population.
Authorities claim the monkey capture is due to conflict between the animals and local residents and farmers. An ever-increasing expansion and encroachment into wildlife habitat is tragically leading to potentially avoidable negative interactions between macaques and people. Rather than allowing macaques to be trapped and exported for research or killed, Action for Primates urges the authorities to adopt humane methods of resolution, and to address the issues that are causing these conflicts, such as deforestation and disposal of food waste that results in monkeys being attracted to human settlements.
Notes to Editor:
For further information, video footage and photographs, please contact:
Sarah Kite, Action for Primates
Action for Primates is a UK-based project that campaigns on behalf of non-human primates globally. Action for Primates raises awareness about the plight of and threats to non-human primates around the world and works to end their exploitation, whether in captivity or in the wild. Action for Primates website: https://actionforprimates.org
The capture of primates from the wild is challenging and potentially dangerous for the animals. Inexperienced handling can lead to significant morbidity and mortality for the animals. Methods used to capture and handle primates, which vary widely between species and countries, should always be humane and cause minimal stress. Institutions should ensure that anyone trapping primates is adequately trained and competent in humane methods of capture.
Capture methods should not render animals, or their troop members, unduly susceptible to injury or death.(http://www.internationalprimatologicalsociety.org/policy-statements-and-guidelines/