A company accused by a British animal rights group of trapping wild primates for the “factory farming of monkeys for the international research industry,” and of keeping the animals in “totally inappropriate” conditions, said Tuesday that its facilities in Pursat province meet international standards.
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection said in a statement last week that it had proof that Hong Kong-based Vanny Bio-Research kept monkeys in small, barren cages and that infant monkeys were kept in solitary confinement in its Cambodian facility. These conditions cause “immense suffering and distress,” BUAV said.
BUAV also claimed that thousands of wild monkeys are caught using cruel methods, and the growing Cambodian primate industry’s practices are breaching the International Primatological Society’s guidelines on the trade.
Vanny Bio-Research defended its practices in a letter on Tuesday, which included printed glossy promotional material of its massive monkey breeding farm, saying its operations are “professionally managed” and provide “excellent care to the animals.”
Company Director Ben Lui wrote that the Cambodian facility was built and run according to “the highest international standard set by relevant governing bodies” and was “subject to regular government inspection.”
Enclosed brochures showed pictures of the Pursat facility including laboratories, staff quarters and offices, but did not explain breeding procedures, where wild monkey are used, or show close-up shots of the living conditions of the thousands of macaques housed there.
A secretary at Vanny Bio-Research in Hong Kong said Tuesday that Ben Lui was in Cambodia, though she could not provide contact details.
In last week’s news release, BUAV said the Cambodian primate industry was largely unregulated and the government had allowed “the exploitation of its indigenous long-tailed macaque population.”
“The latest BUAV investigation into the horrors of the primate trade is an expose of the abject cruelty and suffering that tens of thousands of macaques are forced to endure in the trapping fields, and holding and breeding facilities in Cambodia,” organization said.
Men Phymean, chief of the Forestry Administration’s wildlife protection office, said Tuesday that for each of the four licensed monkey farms in the country there are two government experts who work with the facilities on a daily basis.
The officials monitor the health of the primate population and register wild monkeys brought in and the export of second-generation monkeys bred on the farms, he said.