|LOCAL FIRMS EYE PRIMATE BREEDING IN THE U.S.|
|NITESH BOODHOO REPORTS|
‘This project is market-driven because medical research institutions want their primates to be closer to them’
The primate breeding and export industry in Mauritius is branching out, with plans to sep up breeding farms overseas.
Bioculture, one of the major primate breeding farms here and the Bioculture farm in Israel, have met US companies, including SNBL (Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories), a facility in Texas and Washington State which specialises in primate research, and Primate Products, a primate supply company in Florida, to set up breeding farms in America.
The co-managing director of Bioculture, Mrs Mary Ann Griffiths, confirmed to NEWSNOW that the project to set up a breeding farm in the US will soon take place with an initial breeding of some 1,000 primates.
“This project is market-driven because medical research institutions want their primates to be closer to them which avoids the need for them to come to Mauritius regularly to keep an eye on the monkeys. The institutes can also take better care of the primates,” Mrs Griffiths said.
She added that this initiative also takes into consideration the welfare of the animals. “The primates do not have to be transported from Mauritius to the US and Europe, which is a very long and tiring trip.”
The Director of Special Projects for the British Union for the Abolition of Slavery (BUAV), Mrs Sarah Kite, told NEWSNOW that BUAV is dismayed to learn that Mauritius primate breeding companies are looking to expand overseas.
“This is devastating news for the monkeys on Mauritius. It will mean thousands more monkeys will now be ripped from their homes and torn from their families to suffer and die in laboratories. The cruelty and suffering inflicted on these highly social and intelligent animals is morally unacceptable,” she said.
“The government should be aware of the negative impact this latest news will have on Mauritius’ international reputation. “Despite numerous requests by the BUAV to Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam and Mr. A. Kundasamy, Mauritian High Commissioner in the UK, neither has replied to our letters nor responded to our requests for a meeting.
‘The government should be aware of the negative impact this latest news’
“We are very surprised by this lack of response and apparent dismissal of what are genuine and widespread concerns held by people throughout the world about the plight of monkeys on Mauritius,” she said.
“BUAV’s investigation uncovered the appalling mishandling and treatment of monkeys, yet the government has made no public statements about this cruelty.” According to the BUAV, 105 MPs in the UK have signed an Early Day Motion calling for the UK government to end the import of the off-spring of wild-caught monkeys.
According to a reliable source, Biodia Ltd is another primate breeding and export company which only recently obtained the green light from the Mauritian government to expand its activities on the island and is also looking to set up a breeding operation in Florida with 3,000 animals.
The latest company registered for primate breeding and exports in Mauritius, Prima Cyno Ltd., recently obtained the go-ahead from local authorities to set up farms.
The Environment Impact Assessment of the proposed project has already been approved and granted to Prima Cyno Ltd on January 17 by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Energy.
Prima Cyno Ltd will set up farms at Belle Vue and Mare d’Australia. The company expects to export 1,000 primates in the first year of operation.
Mauritius now has six primate breeding farms. According to official figures, Mauritius exports some 10,000 primates annually, mainly to the US and Europe.