The latest BUAV investigation in Laos has uncovered shocking conditions inside the monkey farms
The cruel trade in monkeys in South East Asia for the international research industry involves thousands of monkeys incarcerated in overcrowded and barren conditions in breeding farms across Laos.
The BUAV investigation uncovered shocking conditions that breach internationally recognised animal welfare guidelines. Some monkeys were found dead in their pens, while others were severely emaciated and suffering from severe hair loss and injuries.
The BUAV is calling for action by CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) and governments to address the largely unregulated trade in macaques within South-east Asia and take action over the serious animal welfare concerns that this investigation has uncovered.
The BUAV believes that urgent action is needed by both CITES and governments to address these concerns and to protect the indigenous populations of macaque species in SE Asia.
BUAV's 2010 Investigation
Filming at the largest monkey farm in Laos, Vannaseng Trading Company, BUAV investigators discovered the factory farming of macaques on an industrial scale and a new farm under construction.
Vannaseng, an import-export company, only started trading in primates in 2004 apparently at the request of a Chinese investor. Vannaseng houses over 10,000 monkeys. The monkeys are kept in cramped unnatural conditions, many living on wire floors. Prior to export, they are imprisoned on their own for weeks in rows of small, barren metal cages.
Since 2004, thousands of these animals have been sold for as little as $600 each to Vietnam and China. The monkeys are shipped, up to 1,300 at a time, by air or across the border by truck.
The BUAV believes that many are destined for China’s expanding primate breeding and supply industry. However, our investigators were also told that many monkeys are re-exported from China and the BUAV is concerned that monkeys originating from Laos may be ending up in research laboratories in the USA and Europe.
Concerns over CITES and conservation
Laos joined CITES in 2004. Between 2004 and 2008, according to the CITES database, over 20,000 long-tailed macaques were exported from Laos to China and Vietnam. Between 2003 and 2006, China also imported many thousands of long-tailed macaques from Vietnam although the animals had originated from Laos.
The evidence obtained by the BUAV in Laos raises serious concerns about the exploitation of indigenous populations of macaques in SE Asia through a largely unregulated trade. This has resulted in indiscriminate and intensive trapping of wild monkeys to establish the numerous factory-style breeding farms in SE Asia.
An official from the Laos Forestry Department admitted during a meeting with BUAV investigators that no population surveys for macaques had been carried out in Laos. Our investigation also raises questions about the validity of captive breeding programmes in countries such as Laos.