RSPCA Unhappy about Plans to Obtain Primates from Mauritius

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals issued a press release in August saying it was “shocked and appalled” by a recent decision by the UK government to import research primates from a breeding center in Mauritius.

The RSPCA claims that the breeding center, Centre de Recherches Primatologiques, does not meet basic animal welfare standards and notes that in 2002 it provided the government with video footage and photographs of the center which the RSPCA says prove its claim.

RSPCA deputy head of research animals Penny Hawkins complained that the government does not make public its criteria for evaluating primate breeding centers,

We just do not know what standards the government applies and the RSPCA cannot therefore assess the scale of the problem.

In addition, the RSPCA claims that the Mauritius center and other international centers use primates caught in the wild which promotes the hunting of such animals. In the UK it is illegal to import a wild caught primate, but it is not illegal to import the captive-born offspring of a wild-born primate.

According to Hawkins,

The ultimate aim has to be to replace experiments on primates with humane alternatives. However until this is achieved, reducing the suffering associated with their breeding and supply must be an urgent and immediate priority for scientists, industry and the government.


Fury Over Wild Monkey Hunts. Financial Times (London), August 31, 2003.

Primate centre decision shock. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, August 2003.

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