Revealed: US allowing long-tailed macaque imports despite risk of disease

Campaigners urge government to stop ‘cruel trade’ as documents show highly pathogenic agents entered the US with monkeys.

US authorities are continuing to allow imports of long-tailed macaques from Cambodia, despite revelations that deadly pathogenic agents, including one deemed to be a bioterrorism risk, are entering the country with primates and recent charges of illegal trafficking of wild macaques falsely labeled as captive-bred into the US biomedical industry from Cambodia.

Animal rights campaigners are urging the US government to stop the “cruel trade”, saying it’s impossible to prove provenance and that the risk of disease is significant.

“The monkey trafficking trade is a substantive threat to public health, it’s only a matter of time before a recognized or novel pathogen sparks a new pandemic. The CDC is meant to be protecting the public, not bringing diseases into the country, jeopardizing public health,” said primatologist Dr Lisa Jones-Engel.

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