Trade in Primates Captured in the Wild

According to Article 11 of the Bylaws, “The Society may enact policy statements through the recommendation of the Council followed by ratification by ballot of the membership, or a vote at the General Assembly.” The proposed new IPS policy was developed by a working group including Angela M. Maldonado, Mary Blair, Claire Beastall, Drew Cronin, Nicholas Malone, Sian Waters, Daniel Stiles, and Janette Wallis. It has been endorsed by the IPS Council. The new policy reads as follows:

Trade in Primates Captured in the Wild

WHEREAS trade in live primates, both legal and illegal, is a major threat to nonhuman primate conservation; and

WHEREAS the trade in the byproducts of dead primates (bodies, skins, skulls, skeletons and trophies) involves an estimate of a million animals per year; and

WHEREAS the capture of nonhuman primates from the wild is stressful for the animals and increases the suffering, risk of injuries, spread of disease and even death during capture, storage and transport; and 

WHEREAS the use of illegally acquired and traded primates for public display and private ownership often involves species that are at high risk of extinction and sometimes fraudulently declared as captive bred;

The International Primatological Society therefore RECOMMENDS:

[1] 3Rs: replacement – seeking viable alternatives to the use of live animals in research, reduction – using the minimum number of research subjects while maintaining the validity of the experimental design, and refinement – or “decreasing the incidence or severity of inhuman procedures applied to those animals which have to be used” (Russell and Burch, 1959). Primatologists are encouraged to maintain a familiarity with evolving definitions of the 3Rs and related best practices in research.

Suggested readings:

Buchanan-Smith, H.M., Rennie, A.E., Vitale, A., Pollo, S., Prescott, M.J., and Morton, D.B. (2005). Harmonising the definition of refinement. Animal Welfare 14:379-384.

Malone, N.M., Fuentes, A. and White, F.J. (2010). Ethics commentary: subjects of knowledge and control in field primatology. Am. J. Primatol., 72: 779–784. doi: 10.1002/ajp.20840

Russell, W.M.S. and Burch, R.L. (1959). The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. Universities Federation for Animal Welfare: Wheathampstead, UK