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Investigation uncovers monkey smuggling in Cambodia and Vietnam

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Our investigation in South East Asia has uncovered an unregulated trade in wild monkeys in Cambodia and Vietnam

Our investigators, who met with animal dealers and visited monkey breeding farms and border crossings, were told of the apparent ease by which the monkeys, long-tailed macaques, could be smuggled across the border. One dealer said that it was easier to get monkeys across the border from Cambodia to Vietnam than it was to smuggle cigarettes.

Following a number of investigations in recent years, carried out by Cruelty Free International in South East Asia, our concerns about the widespread exploitation of this species of monkey, particularly in Cambodia, Laos PDR and Vietnam, have been discussed at CITES meetings (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Our latest findings will be presented to the CITES Animals Committee for consideration at its meeting in September.

Vietnam and Cambodia are major exporters of these monkeys to laboratories around the world to be used in experiments, including the USA and Europe. Large-scale breeding facilities set up in countries in South East Asia contain tens of thousands of monkeys, who were snatched from their families and jungle homes and forced into captivity for breeding.

Our investigators visited a number of such farms and found monkeys kept in poor conditions; some breached international animal welfare guidelines. Animals were held in groups in essentially barren concrete and wire mesh pens. This unnatural environment is in sharp contrast to the wonderful, lush habitat of the forests that is their natural home. At one farm, there were groups of distressed infants who were too young to be separated from their mothers and at a dealer’s premises in Vietnam, infant wild-caught monkeys from Cambodia, were found in small cages, also without their mothers.

Sarah Kite, Director of Special Projects said: “The plundering of these monkey populations from their native forests in South East Asia to feed the breeding farms for the international research industry is an issue we have been raising for many years. This is a cruel trade that inflicts much suffering. The findings from our latest investigation show that urgent action is needed to protect these intelligent and sentient animals”

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