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Pressure mounts on Mauritius to end the monkey trade

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Our new advert highlights monkey suffering

Known simply as CM26, this monkey is one of the 35,000 monkeys exported from Mauritius since 2010. His life story is short and sad but typical of what happens to these intelligent, social and sensitive animals who are deprived of their freedom and cruelly exploited on the paradise island of Mauritius.

CM26 never knew what it was like to live freely in the wild. His mother did before she was trapped and imprisoned in a concrete pen and used for breeding. In the wild, infants normally remain with their family group for many years. Yet at just 10 months old, CM26 was taken from his mother and at less than two years of age, he was put in a small wooden crate and shipped in the cargo hold of an Air France airplane to Europe where he was to suffer and die in a German laboratory, the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics.

Our advert which appeared in the Mauritius media at the weekend highlighted the sad plight of this one monkey with the message: ‘How much longer will we allow our monkeys to suffer and die in experiments in the laboratories of the USA and Europe?’

Mauritius is one of the world’s largest suppliers of primates for the global research industry, in particular the USA and Europe. Tens of thousands of monkeys, many of whom were captured from the wild, are imprisoned in farms across Mauritius.

The country is trying hard to boost its image as a green or ethical tourist destination; an image that is overshadowed by the controversy surrounding its monkey trade. Yet, this trade is economically insignificant compared with tourism. Less than 2% of Mauritian export income involves monkeys, which is a small fraction of the tourism industry. 

An Early Day Motion (EDM) recently tabled in the UK Parliament calling for the phasing out of the use of monkeys in research also highlighted the role of Mauritius in supplying monkeys to UK laboratories. Only last week, the UK Government released its annual statistics for the number of animal experiments completed in 2014. The statistics reveal that 2,954 experiments involved long-tailed macaques and that over half (54%) of the monkeys used (1,343) were imported from Mauritius.  

We urge the Mauritius Government to recognise that the monkey trade is damaging the country’s reputation. By continuing to ignore the growing international concerns surrounding the cruelty inflicted on the country’s population of monkeys, they may find tourists choosing to spend their holidays elsewhere.

Sadly it is too late for CM26 and the other 35,000 monkeys who have already been exported by Mauritius. But please support our campaign to persuade the Mauritius Government and its people  that their country should be a paradise for everyone, including the monkeys.

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