It has been claimed that primates used in Australian research are kept in world class facilities:
“The welfare of every animal is continuously monitored and recorded. The outstanding facilities provided to support animal research in Australia are governed by individual state and territory legislation, ensuring the highest standards.”
Yet, according to information obtained by Humane Research Australia through Freedom Of Information enquiries, over the past three years:
8 May 2017, a female macaque aged twelve years (and known as NF27) was found in a barrel outside dead in a pool of blood. Blood was also scattered around cage. The post-mortem revealed a single penetrative wound half-way down the back which appeared to be inflicted by canine teeth from the male.
[NM77 was the “resident stud male” believed to be responsible for the injuries and had his upper canines removed so that future injuries would not be fatal. It was noted that “if evidence is observed of systemic aggressive behaviour towards other macaques, then NM77 will be permanently removed from breeding.”]
17 April 2017 – a female macaque aged ten years (and known as NF68) was found in her cage barely able to move. Staff attempted to recover her with fluids and warmth but she died about 1.5 hours later.
20 February 2016, a female marmoset aged ten years (and known as CJF602) was found listless and bleeding from her bowel. After being treated and placed in a humidicrib she began gasping for breath and died. CJF602 was a female “breeder” recently imported from France. The cause of her death is unknown.
14 January 2016, a male marmoset aged 8 years (and known as CJM814) was found listless with shallow breathing and vomiting clear foamy liquid. The vet was called for treatment but the marmoset died 30 minutes later. CJM814 was a male “breeder” recently imported from France. The cause of his death is unknown.
Are these the “highest standards” we can expect from “outstanding facilities”?
These incidents occurred at Monash University’s National Non-Human Primate Breeding and Research Facility in Gippsland. They do not even include the procedures that primates are subjected to during their use in experiments – procedures which have been approved by an animal ethics committee and include inducing brain lesions in baby marmosets, using baboons to test radioactive substances and infecting macaques with SIV – and are most often funded by taxpayers through the National Health & Medical Research Council.
Despite their genetic similarity to us, primates are not good models on which to base human medicine.
Please sign and share our petition to the Australian government, calling on them to ban the use of non-human primates in medical and scientific research in Australia. Almost 56,000 people have already signed, showing that they care!
Not only is this a cruel and unethical industry, it is a huge waste of precious resources – funding and time that would be better spent on research methods that are applicable to humans – not a pseudo-model of a human that is more likely to lead to erroneous data.
 James Bourne, The Guardian, 1st March 2016. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/01/you-might-find-my-research-using-monkeys-abhorrent-but-it-could-save-your-life