An ongoing awareness campaign called “Paradise Lost” is being carried out by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) against the export for research of long-tailed macaque monkeys from Mauritius.
The aim is to inform potential tourists for Mauritius about the monkey trade. It is part of the campaign to press the Mauritian government to review its stand on the monkey business, said the Chief Executive of the BUAV, Mrs Michelle Thew, who is presently in Mauritius.
BUAV, she said, is very disappointed that the government has not responded to their many letters.
Mrs Thew claimed that the monkey trade is gaining rapid and strong concern at different levels of civil societies and is also generating a very strong response internationally.
“If we do not have any response from the government during our stay in Mauritius, the BUAV will have no other option than to continue raising awareness which will be a deterrent to the tourism industry of the island.
“Many tourists would be very much concerned with what is going on in the island. The dark business of capture and trade is a hidden fact and we believe that tourists travelling to the island must know about it,” Mrs Thew said.
“Mauritius has an international reputation as being a paradise island, but it is only after this trade is banned that Mauritius will truly be a paradise island.”
She added that the BUAV mission to Mauritius is not only to discuss the issue with members of government but also to make the general public aware of the export of primates for research purposes.
“Up to now this business has been very secretive. We believe that many Mauritians do not know about this trade.”
She said that the BUAV is fighting not only for the welfare of animals worldwide but also to promote a global, modern and humane science culture.
BUAV is very concerned with Mauritius because the trade here has expanded at such a fast pace that the island is now the second largest exporter of the long-tailed macaque in the world after China.
She said that local company Bioculture Mauritius has planned to set up a breeding farm in Puerto Rico and, according to Mrs Thew, monkeys will be trapped in the wild. Trapping animals in the wild “makes them frustrated animals”.
One of the arguments used by primate breeders in Mauritius is that these monkeys are a pest, she added. But it is not possible that some companies start breeding a pest for export. “The capture and breeding of wildcaught primates is only for business and it has nothing to do with population control,” Mrs Thew said.
BUAV is also fighting against research laboratories in the UK and US and wants an end to the use of animals for tests in laboratories and a ban on all new animal-tested cosmetics.
She said that they have written to several ministries like the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the Prime Minister’s Office to discuss on the monkey trade.
NEWSNOW contacted the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure but the spokesperson of this ministry was not available.
However, a spokesperson of the Cyno Breeders Association (CBA), Mr Owen Griffiths, told NEWSNOW yesterday they are focused on a common vision of the CBA and government to transform Mauritius into a bio-island.
“Several international research laboratories are showing an interest in setting up their laboratories in Mauritius because of the monkeys of Mauritius, which are almost free of stress.”
By Nitesh Boodhoo