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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 'Shocking' video exposes trade in rare monkeys: group

'Shocking' video exposes trade in rare monkeys: group

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

British rights organisation claims evidence of large-scale illegal

monkey farms in Cambodia, where primates are bred and sold for world's

laboratories

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PHOTO SUPPLIED

A trapped monkey is transported by poachers in a mesh bag from the jungle to a test facility in Cambodia from where they are exported overseas.

AN investigation into the illegal animal trade has revealed graphic evidence of rare and endangered monkey species throughout the Kingdom being captured and bred to supply the world's animal testing industry.

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), a UK-based animal rights group, released photographs and videos Sunday of industrial-sized monkey farms in Kandal and other provinces.

The group says that monkeys had been hunted, put in plastic mesh bags and transported by canoe to be confined in metal cages at the facilities.

"People around the world will be shocked by the findings," BUAV Chief Executive Michelle Thew said in the press release Sunday.

"There is growing international concern over the plight of primates; we urge the Cambodian government to protect its indigenous [species]."

Some of the footage taken by the organisation shows "trappers" taking animals from swamps and jungles, including from nationally protected nature reserves, and throwing them in mesh bags. Other footage shows the confinement of the monkeys in cages at a factory farm run by a company called Vanny Bio-Research in Kean Svay district, Kandal province.

According to the organisation, the monkeys are eventually shipped to China, the United States and Europe where they are used for testing.

The organisation accused Cambodia of flouting international guidelines by allowing the illegal breeding and trapping of monkeys to prop up the testing industry.  

"The evidence obtained ...  shows that the Cambodian primate trade industry is failing to comply with international animal welfare guidelines," it said, citing the International Primatological Society's guidelines on the acquisition, care and breeding of monkeys.

The group expressed particular concern for the exploitation of rare species, including long-tailed macaques, which are listed on the Convention of the International Trade in Endangered Species.

"Cambodia ... has allowed the exploitation of its indigenous population of long-tailed macaques through largely unregulated trade," the press release said.

"In recent years, there appears to have been indiscriminate and intensive trapping of wild monkeys to establish numerous breeding and supply farms."

John Johnson from the US embassy said Monday that the United States was taking the allegations that the animals were being farmed for use in the US seriously and was looking into the issue.

According to a global survey released earlier this year by the NGO Conservation International, primates are facing the greatest-ever threat to their survival, with 79 percent in South and Southeast Asia now facing extinction.

BUAV spokeswoman Sarah Kite said Monday that the report and video will be sent to the King and prime minister.  

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