Mrs Maneka Gandhi, the Indian Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development has spoken out about the plight of monkeys in Mauritius
Cruelty Free International leads the campaign to end the trade in monkeys from Mauritius to laboratories around the world and has today renewed its call to the Mauritius Prime Minister to take action to end the breeding and export of monkeys for research. During 2014, 8,991 monkeys were exported to laboratories primarily in Europe and the USA.
The call comes following a statement made by Mrs Maneka Gandhi, Indian Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development. In an article titled "Saying it out loud - and clear", Mrs Gandhi is calling for a boycott of Mauritius because of the country's involvement in the monkey trade. In the article, she states:
'Of the countries that should be boycotted, one is Mauritius. It is the only country in the world that exports thousands of monkeys to laboratories across the world for experimentation. Dozens of breeders have now become monkey factories. These poor animals are grown like vegetables and then sent in boxes across Europe where they are subjected to unimaginable torture. In 2014 alone, Mauritius exported 9,000 monkeys. All across Europe, a campaign is underway to stop people from going there. A survey commissioned by Cruelty Free International found that 53 per cent of those interviewed who have been, want to go or would consider going on a holiday to Mauritius, would not want to visit or revisit the island because of this, or would reconsider choosing Mauritius as a holiday destination after learning about the island’s monkey trade.'
Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of Cruelty Free International stated: ‘It is time for the Mauritius Government to recognise that the monkey trade is tarnishing the country’s reputation and discouraging people from choosing Mauritius as a holiday destination. We urge the Prime Minister to take action to end this suffering. Mauritius should be a paradise for everyone, including the monkeys.’
A recent survey commissioned by Cruelty Free International of over 3,000 people in five European countries revealed that the trade in monkeys from Mauritius is having a negative impact upon tourism. Interestingly, 92% of tourists and potential tourists asked in the survey were not aware of the export of monkeys from Mauritius for experiments. Over half or 53% of those interviewed who have been, want to go or would consider going on a holiday to Mauritius would not want to visit or revisit the island because of this or would reconsider choosing Mauritius as a holiday destination after learning about the monkey trade on the island.
The Mauritius Tourism Promotional Authority is currently working hard to promote and market Mauritius as a ‘green’ tourist destination. Cruelty Free International questions whether the potential loss of tourism revenue as a result of the trade in monkeys is worth it. The monkey trade is economically insignificant compared with tourism.
Over the years, other countries, such as Thailand, India, and Bangladesh have banned the export of primates for research purposes. More recently Israel took the decision to ban the export of wild animals for experiments - now the attention falls on Mauritius. Cruelty Free International believes that Mauritius can and should take a positive stand against the primate trade.