Thursday, 29 September 2011

Mauritius: Mass Monkey Slaughter "Discussed" by Vivisection Industry Supplier

By Ted Jeory
THOUSANDS of monkeys could be slaughtered on the paradise island of Mauritius as part of a cost-cutting ­operation ordered by a British-backed supplier to the vivisection industry.

The mass cull is being considered by Noveprim Ltd, which runs macaque breeding farms on the Indian Ocean island off the south-east coast of Africa.

The animals are trapped in the wild and used to breed offspring which are exported to laboratories worldwide.

Noveprim’s directors are said to believe there is a world “overproduction” of the primates and that they need to respond to economic conditions.

The company is 47 per cent owned by Covance UK, a contract research and vivisection organisation based in ­Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Covance boss Tony Cork is listed as a director of Noveprim Ltd in Mauritius.

Drug companies believe the macaques are vital for medical research into human diseases. Animal welfare campaigners say vivisection is unnecessary and exporting monkeys thousands of miles in cages is cruel.

Their outrage deepened when they learned of Noveprim’s new plan.

In an interview with Mauritius-based journalist Priya Luckoo, Noveprim director Bruno Julienne confirmed the cull had been discussed. He insisted any cull would be ethical and humane.

It is feared that 400 monkeys a month, including breeding females and young males, would be killed until a target stock is reached early next year.

Mr Julienne said the “ideal solution” would be to release the animals back to the wild once they had been sterilised. But the authorities in Mauritius are believed to consider macaques a pest which damage crops and fauna.

Sarah Kite, director at the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection campaign group, said: “This is totally unacceptable. We cannot allow these highly intelligent and sensitive animals, who have been exploited for years, to be simply discarded.

“We appeal to the people of Mauritius and the UK to oppose this horrific mass slaughter. These animals should be released into the wild to live a life free from pain and suffering.”

A spokesman for Noveprim said: “Noveprim has been exploring options to manage its production level, ­including the preferred option of establishing a sanctuary. Discussions are ongoing but it may take up to a year before final decisions are made.”

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