I shouldn’t really call this a party, given the subject matter of the article in question, but for the sake of consistency…
AllAfrica.com reports that Mauritius is exporting macaque monkeys at $70 a head for research in the US, UK and Japan. The money is used to fund local conservation efforts.
As a scientist who loves primates, I have very mixed feelings about this story. I never did animal work myself, having managed to avoid projects that required it, but I fully understand the need for animal models in some kinds of research. Primates are unfortunately necessary in some areas, especially as models of human disease – even though they’re not perfect, they’re the best we have – and I sincerely hope that the importing countries only use these animals when there are no other options.
Another factor is that macaques are apparently seen as a nuisance in Mauritius, eating crops, killing endangered birds, and other monkey business. The captured monkeys are reportedly kept under good conditions.
Overall, it seems like a win-win situation for all involved – except the monkeys. And I still feel ambivalent. I have to admit that I’d naively assumed most Western research animals were captive-bred, and I think it’s the capture of animals from the wild that bothers me here.
I’ll close by repeating two words from above.