The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) has revealed that traumatic monkey experiments are being carried out at top universities in the UK ahead of World Day for Laboratory Animals on Friday 24 April. Many of the tests are rated ‘severe’, causing long-lasting suffering. The NAVS is calling for the University of Cambridge, King’s College London, Newcastle University, the University of Oxford and other universities to end their experiments on monkeys.
‘Severe’ and ‘substantial’ tests which cause long-lasting or significant suffering are conducted at King’s College London, and University of Oxford. These universities and the University of Cambridge also conduct ‘moderate’ rated experiments which cause animals ‘noticeable’ suffering. The severity of experiments on marmoset monkeys undertaken at Newcastle University is unspecified. Information about the actual severity of animal experiments is not currently publicly available but will be included in future Government reports, in line with new EU legislation.
Severe experiments may include “toxicity testing where death is the end-point” or surgical interventions which are expected to result in “severe or persistent moderate” post-operative pain, suffering or distress. Moderate suffering includes toxicity testing and irradiation which does not result in death while procedures considered mild can encompass single dose tests and creating tumours which “cause no detectable clinical adverse effects”.
Around 4.1 million animal experiments take place each year in the UK, with 49% undertaken at universities and medical schools. The four universities account for 11% of all primates tested on in the UK and three of the four universities highlighted have increased the number of monkey tests they conduct.
Most recent figures reveal that 2,202 monkeys were used for 3,236 experiments in the UK, with many animals enduring repeat experiments. Hundreds of tests were for ‘fundamental biological research’ while 2,340 were for toxicology research, for which animals typically endure force-feeding or injections of experimental compounds, resulting in debilitating symptoms and even death. Many will be killed at the end of the experiment.
A high proportion of monkeys used in tests are imported into the UK, with almost three quarters of experiments performed on monkeys from outside the EU. The UK is one of Europe’s largest monkey importers, bringing more than 1,350 into the country for experiments in 2012. Half are born to a parent captured from the wild.
The NAVS has previously revealed the brutality of the laboratory primate trade, exposing the shocking reality inside a monkey farm in Mauritius and distributor in Spain. Monkeys snatched from the forest are locked inside tiny, barren cages and manhandled by workers, who swing the terrified animals by their tails and pin their arms behind their backs before subjecting them to painful procedures. This occurs before the individuals reach the laboratory, on a journey which can be as long as seventy hours, cramped inside travel crates. Some do not survive the journey.
NAVS President Jan Creamer said, “These leading universities should pave the way for an end to primate tests and champion the better, humane alternatives already in use. The UK must play no role in this brutal trade, for which the babies of monkeys torn from the wild are exported to laboratories in Britain and around the world. Please join the NAVS call on World Day for Laboratory Animals to stop the monkey business.”
EU legislation on animal experiments supports an end to the wild capture of monkeys and a timetable to end to all primate experiments is backed by MEPs. The NAVS is calling on the public to press for primate tests to be phased-out.
One minute of silence will be observed at midday on World Day for Laboratory Animals, 24 April, to commemorate the suffering of animals in laboratories.
Join the NAVS campaign to stop the monkey business: www.navs.org.uk