Indonesia Allowing Illegal Monkey Trade: NGO

JAKARTA ~ An illegal trade in primates for laboratory tests is thriving in Indonesia despite local and international regulations designed to control such exports, a British animal welfare group has claimed.

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) said Indonesia should be suspended from the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) for allowing the “disturbing trade.”

It said Jakarta was “breaching its own wildlife legislation as well as failing to comply with CITES regulations and violating international animal welfare guidelines.”

“The official Indonesian ‘ban’ on the export of wild-caught primates for research is a sham,” the group said in a statement at the conclusion of an investigation into the primates trade.

“Through a lack of enforcement by the Indonesian authorities and the use of misleading source codes for CITES export permits, the BUAV believes that wild-caught monkeys continue to be exported and end up in the international research industry.”

It said illegally caught wild primates are subjected to a “chain of cruelty and suffering” before they end up in research laboratories around the world, including China, Japan and the United States.

Many were kept in “appalling conditions at dealers’ premises” before being packed into small wooden crates and shipped by Philippine Airlines, Korean Air and China Southern Airlines, it said.

The number of wild monkeys allowed to be trapped in 2009 for the research industry had increased a “staggering” threefold to 15,100, it said.

“The BUAV calls on CITES to suspend Indonesia’s membership while it carries out its own investigation,” BUAV chief executive Michelle Thew said.

“To what extent CITES itself is aware of the practices taking place within Indonesia must also be urgently addressed.”

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