Cambodia’s Monkeys Treated Cruelly: Group

An animal rights group has ac­cused the Cambodian government of failing to comply with international conventions by allowing the cruel capture of wild monkeys and the breeding of primates in inadequate conditions for research laboratories in China, Europe and the US.

The British Union for the Abo­l­i­tion of Vivisection said in a report re­leased Monday that long-tailed macaques are being caught using brutal methods and sold to “industrial-scale factory farms.”

On these farms, tens of thousands of monkeys are kept in conditions far removed from nature causing “immense suffering and distress,” the group said.

These practices in the largely un­regulated Cambodian primate in­dus­try are breaching the Inter­na­tio­n­­al Primatological Society’s guide­lines on the trade, the group said.

At Vanny Bio-Research, a facility that was located in Kandal pro­vince’s Kien Svay district in 2004, the BUAV filmed monkeys being held in small, barren cages and in­fant monkeys kept in solitary confinement. Contact information for Vanny Bio-Research could not be obtained Monday.

The long-tailed macaque is not en­dangered, but according to the BUAV “the Cambodian government has allowed the exploitation of its indigenous long-tailed mac­aque population,” which could affect the species’ numbers.

“People around the world will be shocked by the findings of the BUAV investigation and to learn of the suffering inflicted on Cambo­dia’s monkeys,” Michelle Thew, chief executive of the organization, said in a news release received Sunday.

“We urge the Cambodian government to protect its indigenous macaque population,” she said.

Minister of Agriculture Chan Sarun said that monkey farms in Cambodia only sell second-generation monkeys bred on farms and that there are four licensed monkey farms in the country.

These facilities are not directly in­volved in catching wild macaques but buy them from villagers, Chan Sarun said, adding that his ministry had no plans to regulate the catching of monkeys as they are still populous in Cambodia.

“We never allow farmers to keep monkeys in poor and cruel conditions because the Forestry Admin­is­tration checks if the farms follow regulations,” the minister said, add­ing that ill monkeys are brought to veterinarians for treatment.

Every year, 7,000 to 8,000 monkeys are sent to research laboratories abroad, and the Agriculture Min­istry is cooperating with Wild­life Alliance, a non-governmental or­ganization, to stop the illegal trade in wild monkeys, Chan Sarun said.

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