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BUAV Exposes Shocking Role Played by Laos in the International Trade in Primates for Research
Date:2/23/2010

LONDON, February 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The BUAV, a leading animal protection organization, is calling on CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) to take action following its investigation into a shocking and expanding trade in primates from Laos to China and Vietnam for the research industry. BUAV investigators secretly filmed inside the largest monkey farm (Vannaseng Trading Company) in the first expose of the primate trade in Laos, also revealing the construction of a new monkey farm.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100223/378013 )

Exposed is a disturbing picture of animal suffering along with serious concerns over the conservation status of the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) in SE Asia and Laos's compliance with CITES. Also raised are questions about the role of China in re-exporting primates from Laos to research laboratories in the USA and Europe.

Laos joined CITES in 2004, exporting over 20,000 long-tailed macaques to China and Vietnam within four years.

    Main findings from the BUAV investigation:

    - Animal welfare: The conditions are in breach of international
      guidelines. Thousands of monkeys suffer in rows of small pens.

    - Conservation of the long-tailed macaque: An official from the
      Laos Forestry Department admitted that no population surveys for
      macaques have been carried out in Laos. Since at least 2003, however,
      many thousands of macaques have been trapped in the wild for the
      research industry.

    - CITES: There are concerns regarding the validity of the captive
      breeding claims in Laos and misrepresentation of source codes on CITES
      export permits for the thousands of exported long-tailed macaques.
      Furthermore, no annual report, a CITES requirement, has been submitted
      since Laos joined CITES.

    - Re-export of Laos monkeys: The monkeys have no permanent
      identification, making credibility of any records questionable.
      Vannaseng told the BUAV that monkeys sold to China are either used for
      breeding purposes or re-exported to research laboratories in Europe
      and the USA.

BUAV's Director of Special Projects, Sarah Kite states: "The BUAV wants an end to this cruel and barbaric trade. We are calling for a full investigation into our findings. CITES and governments must address the growing plundering of the macaque populations from their native forests in South East Asia to feed the international research industry."

For further information and visuals, contact Sarah Kite at sarah.kite@buav.org or on +1-505-920-6175. Visit the BUAV website at http://www.buav.org

SOURCE BUAV

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