Monday, August 8

The long-tailed macaque, the primate most used in scientific experimentation, is declared in danger of extinction

On July 21, 2022 the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) has been declared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in danger of extinction. Less than a year and a half ago, in February 2021, it was already declared vulnerable on its red list of endangered species.

The long-tailed macaque is the most traded non-human primate in the world. Its main use is laboratory and toxicity experiments, to which is added its trade as pets, for the entertainment industry and for human consumption, as well as deaths due to habitat loss and conflict with humans.

Due to these activities, a decline of more than 50% of the long-tailed macaque is expected in the next 40 years, which puts them in danger of extinction. Just 15 years ago they were in the category of least concern.

Faced with this news, Sarah Kite, co-founder of Action for Primates, has declared: “This is a wake-up call about how we see and interact with the long-tailed macaque. Due to the impact of human activities on the species and its habitat, especially global trade for research and toxicity testing, the future of this intelligent non-human primate, which plays an important role in biodiversity and ecosystems, is seriously in doubt. threatened. Since humans are the cause of this threat, we have a moral obligation to act now, before it is too late, to protect and conserve the long-tailed macaque.”

Despite being declared vulnerable to extinction in early 2021, trade for its use in laboratories has grown significantly globally. What has caused some countries to relax the rules of their trade. This is the case of Indonesia, which has lifted its moratorium on the export of wild long-tailed macaques hunted in the wild. Laos, a country temporarily banned for its bad practices, has returned to the market. The main exporters of these macaques are the Mauritius Islands, Vietnam and Cambodia, especially after China, a large producer of laboratory macaques, vetoed their export due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The global trade in laboratory macaques presents itself as a trade in macaques raised on specific farms for this purpose; however, there are great doubts about the veracity of these claims. In addition, the exporting countries recognize and authorize that a certain number of macaques be hunted from their habitat, often separating the young from their families and killing the adults that protect them, in order to supply the farms, given the current exorbitant demand for these primates.


More and more voices within the scientific community advocate alternative methods of experimentation, since up to 90% of drugs that have been effective and safe in non-human primates fail or are harmful to humans, and 100% of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s have failed.

In Spain there is the largest laboratory macaque farm in Europe, which supplies the laboratories of the European Union and the United Kingdom. The Asociation Stop Camarles /Abolition Vivisectionwhich fights for the closure of this farm and the cessation of the use of laboratory animals, when asked if they had noticed a significant increase in their trade in the latter, answers:

“In recent years, there has been a continuous increase in imports and exports of macaques (even greater since the beginning of the pandemic), always excused by their false need to cure diseases and without any ethical approach. Although in his propaganda they try to make believe that the use of animals is decreasing, the reality is that the business of animal experimentation and, in particular, the use of macaques is booming.

In 2016, the Spanish farm Camarney imported around 1,500 macaques, a figure that has increased almost three times during 2021. Even more, only until May of this year, Camarney has sent the same number of macaques to European laboratories than during all 2016. Exports are made mainly to France and the Netherlands, on long road trips, and to the United Kingdom with frequent flights between Barcelona and Manchester airports“.

Faced with this new classification of an endangered species, we urgently need the cessation of their trade as laboratory animals, which only feeds their hunting and trafficking, and that we immediately turn towards a more efficient and ethical science.

EDITORS NOTE: On June 30, 2022, Air France publicly announced that it would stop transporting primates for animal experimentation (as it had been doing and is reflected in the Animal Equality video embedded in this article, made prior to that ad).



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