Kenya’s Institute of Primate Research Woos Western Drug Firms Wary of Animal Rights Extremism

British newspapers reported in early October on efforts by Kenyan medical research institutes to attract European drug firms who have had enough of runaway animal rights extremism on that continent.

Kenya’s Institute for Primate Research, for example, was established by Richard Leakey in the 1960s to further the study of primate evolution, and is now one of the leading research centers in Africa. It is actively promoting the advantages of doing animal research in Kenya where costs are cheaper and animal rights lacks the cache it has gained in parts of Europe.

Institute for Primate Research director Emmanuel Wango told The Telegraph,

We want to encourage and develop a closer relationship with companies from outside Kenya so they can come and see that we will be able to do their work without the problems they have elsewhere.

Our costs are almost a tenth of those in America and we have a much more comfortable way of working. We have everything you need to the same standards, but without these people trying to petrol-bomb your family.

Not that Kenya doesn’t have homegrown animal rights activists. Jean Gilcrhist of the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals bemoans the proposal,

We are not happy with this proposal. If animal experiments are to be done — and we believe that alternatives should be used when possible — then these should be very, very strictly controlled.


Scientists offered animal research haven in Africa. Rob Crilly, The Scotsman, October 8, 2005.

Africa offers haven to drug firms plagued by animal rights activists. Mike Pflanz, The Telegraph, October 25, 2005.