Animal Protection groups have condemned as a 'backward step' the decision by the government of Mauritius to grant permission for the expansion of Biosphere Trading Ltd and to allow the company to capture around 1,000 wild monkeys. Biosphere Trading, a company at Closel in Tamarin Falls, breeds and exports long-tailed macaques for research. It has been reported that it will now increase its current capacity of 800 monkeys to 7,500 monkeys, with the aim of exporting 1,500 monkeys per year to the USA and Canada.
Mauritius is already one of the world's largest exporters of monkeys for the global research industry, exporting thousands of monkeys every year to the USA and Europe. In 2020, 10,827 long-tailed macaques were exported from the country, an increase of 40% (3,088 monkeys) to 2019.
The animal groups Action for Primates, Progress Science Mauritius, One Voice and Animal Rights, who led an international campaign representing many thousands of people from within Mauritius and around the world, are dismayed this decision was made at a time when there is widespread global concern over the capture of wild non-human primates, especially because of the cruelty and suffering caused by the removal of such animals from their natural habitat, social and family groups. They are concerned that such a step could lead to the resumption of the large-scale commercial trapping of wild long-tailed macaques in Mauritius.
Several official bodies and organisations, including the European Union, recognise the suffering involved in the capturing of wild non-human primates. For example, the International Primatological Society (IPS): “…the capture of nonhuman primates from the wild is stressful for the animals and increases the suffering, risk of injuries, spread of disease and even death during capture, storage and transport”.
The European Union Directive (applied across the EU in 2013) recognises that the capture of non-human primates from the wild is highly stressful for the animals concerned and carries an elevated risk of injury and suffering during capture and transport. In order to end the capture of animals from the wild, including for purposes of breeding, the Directive introduced provisions with the objective of moving towards using only non-human primates who have been bred in self-sustaining colonies, from parents who themselves have been bred in captivity.
Holding and transportation are additional sources of stress and suffering, as the monkeys are shipped on long journeys around the world in the cargo holds of aeroplanes. There has been much evidence accumulated over the years that has revealed the immense cruelty and suffering that is inflicted on monkeys during their capture, caging, holding and transportation.