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Wild animals belong in the wild

Nieuws: 28 oktober 2020

BLOG - Speech from Willem Vermaat (Animal Rights) at the demonstration in front of the Embassy of Mauritius in Brussels on 27.10. 2020: Mauritius: Stop the international trade in monkeys for research!

I don’t want to be here. Not because I don’t want to be here, right here, right now, but because I wish there wouldn’t be a need to be here.

Animal Rights organisations have found out that one of the Mauritius monkey farms has submitted an application to expand their breeding program. This monkey farm belongs to Biosphere Trading, located in Closel in Tamarin Falls. The company wants to expand their capacity of 800 monkeys to 7.500 monkeys. In addition, the company has applied for a license to capture monkeys in the wild. The ultimate purpose is to export 1,500 monkeys per year. These monkeys will then be used in cruel animal experiments.

Clearly, I feel the need to be here.

I just said ‘the company’. But I wish we wouldn’t call trapping, breeding, and trading animals a business, but rather illegal activities. And the people running these activities, criminals.

I was born a few days after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In school, I have learned that I was growing up in a time of peace. And that in fact, historically, this is an exception. I still live in a time of peace. But this does not apply to everyone.

It’s easy to talk about peace if you’re not one of the victims. Things look a lot different from their perspective.

It have learned that for your moral value as a person, it doesn’t matter what your gender is, or the colour of your skin. But only later I realized that in terms of moral value, and personhood, it matters a lot if your born as a human or a non-human animal.

There may be peace for human primates. But there’s no peace for those primates who are not human and who are used in horrific experiments.

In Europe, animal testing on primates has risen with 7% between 2015 and 2017. This while the European Parliament issued a statement in 2007, so TEN years earlier, calling for the phasing out of the use of all non-human primates and replacing them with alternatives.

Mauritius is the main supplier of long-tailed macaques, a frequently used monkey species in animal testing, to the EU. 50% of the non-human primates used for the first time in research in the EU during 2014 were born in Mauritius. Mauritius is world's second largest exporter of non-human primates to the global laboratory animal industry. The country accounts for 21% of world exports.

With the intended expansion of the monkey farm in Tamarin Falls, it seems that Mauritius wants to become an even bigger ‘player’ on the ‘market’.

Consul, Mauritius Embassy in Brussels, this is NOT something to be proud of.

But you could take steps which you cán be proud of. You could urge for the abandonment of monkey trade. You could speak out against capturing wild monkeys, against monkeys breeding programs, and against delivery of monkeys, sentient beings and so alike humans, to the hands of experimenters who expose them to unbearable cruelties.

We urge you, to do everything you can to make Mauritius a country to be proud of.

We humans have a lot in common with other primates. Why would we allow cruel treatment on primates who aren’t human, if we would never allow this treatment on human primates? There’s no good reason. It’s a matter of arbitrariness.

Yes, we differ from other species. That’s exactly the reason why we are called ‘a species’. Pigs differ from other species. Dolphins differ from other species. Ants differ from other species. Monkeys differ from other species.

But we have similarities. Especially with monkeys, since we are a monkey species ourselves. And one very important thing we share with other primates, our evolutionary cousins and nieces, is our capacity to suffer. And following from that, our wish to avoid pain.

And primates used in animal testing, suffer from pain. A lot of pain. Babies are forcibly torn from their screaming mothers. Monkeys are captivated in small cages. They do not only suffer from the pain and misery from the experiments, in which drugs are pumped into their stomachs through tubes forced up their throats or nostrils. Or in which they are given infectious diseases which cause them to suffer from organ failure, breathing problems, and neurological disorders before they die. They also suffer from loneliness, boredom, and insanity in the places in which they are kept.

I hope for change. In Europe, the import and use of animals caught in the wild for research purposes is prohibited by law. Therefore, it would be illegal if monkeys captured in the wild in Mauritius would be exported and used in animal testing. Government agencies realize that capturing monkeys in the wild causes a lot of suffering. But it’s time to make other use of animals as instruments illegal as well.

Because what changes if an animal is born in captivity? Has something miraculously happened? Have they lost their capacity to suffer? Would it all of a sudden be OK to treat them in the horrible ways I just described?

American philosopher Charles Magel once famously said: “Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is, ‘Because the animals are like us.’ Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is, ‘Because the animals are not like us.'”

We want Europe, Mauritius and the world to expand their moral circle. Become moral leaders and take action against monkey farms, against monkey trade, and against monkey use in experiments.

These animals are suffering from things we would never allow to happen with humans or with animals who we keep as pets. To Mauritius and the world: Get rid of those moral double standards. To Mauritius and the world: don’t allow the expansion of any monkey farm, but get rid of them. To Mauritius and the world: get rid of any contribution to the cruel practice of animal testing.

How can you help the monkeys of Mauritius?

Animal Rights joined the campaign of Action for Primates, Progress Science Mauritius / NO Animal Experiments and One Voice to urge the Government of Mauritius to refuse the application for the expansion of monkey farms in the country and for the capture of wild monkeys. We only have until 31 October to oppose the application for an extension of primate breeding and the restart of monkey game capture in Mauritius. That is why we need your help.

  • Action for Primates and Progress Science Mauritius / NO Animal Experiments are urging the Government of Mauritius to refuse the application for the expansion of monkey farms in the country and for the capture of wild monkeys. Animal Rights supports this campaign and asks its followers to sign the petition.
  • Send a polite E-mail to the Embassy of Mauritius in Belgium and the Government of Mauritius:
    The Hon Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Mauritius, E-mail:
    The Hon Maneesh Gobin, Minister of Agro-industry and Food Security, E-mail: and
    The Hon Kavydass Ramano, Minister for the Environment, E-mail: and
    You can use the letter we prepared