Accessibility Links

Select a Language:

  1. English Language
  2. German Language
  3. Dutch Language
  4. French Language
  5. Italian Language
  6. Czech Language
  7. Danish Language
  8. Swedish Language
  9. Croatian Language
  10. Finish Language
  11. Portugal Language
  12. Spanish Language
  13. Norwegian Language
  14. Macedonian Language
  15. Serbian Language
  16. Polish Language
  17. Hungarian Language
Primates

Main Content:

The Truth About Primate Trading

Your top 10 questions answered!

How many monkeys are used in European research?

The latest available statistics (from 2005) show that EU member states used 10,449 nonhuman primates for research.

Which EU countries are the biggest users of primates in research?

According to the latest EU statistics, from 2005, the main users of primates were France (3789), the UK (3115) and Germany (2086).

What kind of monkeys are used in research?

The majority of primates used are Old World monkeys which include macaques, baboons and the African Green monkey. Some New World monkeys are also used such as squirrel monkeys, marmosets and tamarins. All these species are listed under Appendix II of CITES (the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) – meaning that the species could become endangered if trade is not controlled.

Where do the monkeys come from?

Many of the primates used in European laboratories are imported from countries outside of the EU. Some are taken from the wild and exported to the EU from countries such as Mauritius and Barbados.

Others will have either been born (known as F1 generation) or bred (known as F2 plus generation) in captivity in their country of origin from breeding colonies often permitted to be 're-stocked' with monkeys taken directly from the wild. F1 generation primates are those where one or both parents have been captured from the wild.

What kinds of experiments are carried out?

According to the most recent figures available from the EU (2005), 67% of primates are used in toxicological (poisoning) research. Such testing can last for months, during which the primates are dosed daily with chemicals or drugs through injection or forced ingestion.

Fundamental (curiosity driven) research accounts for around 14% of procedures and may include studies in neurological research and other human disease. Many of these primate studies involve the implantation of electrodes and/or brain damage.

Medical research accounts for 17% and includes development and quality control of products and devices. It may be surprising to learn that less than 20% of primate experiments are done in order to see whether human medicines are likely to work.

Why are primates used in research?

There are many reasons why monkeys and other animals are used in experiments, the conservatism of regulators being one of them. This is illustrated by the insistence of European medicine regulators to continue with acute toxicity (poisoning) experiments on animals when even the pharmaceutical industry agrees they are all but redundant.

Do primate experiments work?

Although it is true that the development of new treatments almost always involves animals, the key question is whether, scientifically, their use is necessary or beneficial. Despite the general physical similarity between nonhuman primates and humans, this does not mean that the effect of a chemical will be the same in both species.

At a key international regulatory forum, the International Conference on Harmonisation acknowledged that in terms of the way in which a drug is handled by the body, monkeys can differ from humans as much as any other species. The Food and Drug Administration in the US stated in a press release in January 2006 that “nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies.”

Why is the ECEAE against primate testing?

There are no morally relevant differences between nonhuman primates and humans that would justify doing to them what we would never consider doing to human beings. Nonhuman primates share many important characteristics of humans. They are intelligent and highly-evolved animals with complex behavioural and social needs that laboratories and breeding centres can never hope to meet adequately.

In additional to ethical objections to animal experimentation, there are also strong scientific arguments against the use of primates in research. Because of biological differences between humans and other primates, as well as the unnatural conditions in which the primates must live, the results of such research cannot be safely and reliably extrapolated to humans.

The ECEAE is against experiments on all animals irrespective of the species.

What are the alternatives if we don't use primates?

Many cutting-edge non-animal techniques have already replaced some primate use; others show much potential but lack support or investment. But many of the challenges that must be tackled are not technological but cultural, economic and political. Like all animal experiments, the use of primates is deeply ingrained into the "way things are done".

Crucially, ending primate experiments does not depend upon identifying off-the-shelf replacements for every single kind of procedure in which primates are currently used, as some suggest. A battery of different scientific and policy approaches will ultimately be more predictive, cheaper, and of course much more humane than primate tests.

What is public opinion on primate research?

A 2009 opinion poll in six EU states carried out by YouGov, a leading polling company, showed that an overwhelming majority (81%) of those people surveyed agree or strongly agree that the new EU animal experiments law should prohibit all experiments causing pain or suffering to primates.

In 2007, a clear majority of MEPs signed Written Declaration 40/2007 which called for a phase-out in primate experiments. And in 2006, in response to the European Commission's public consultation on the future of Directive 86/609/EEC (the EU animal experiments law), 82% of those that responded stated that they did not believe that primate experiments were acceptable. Your top 10 questions answered!

How many monkeys are used in European research?

The latest available statistics (from 2005) show that EU member states used 10,449 nonhuman primates for research.

Which EU countries are the biggest users of primates in research?

According to the latest EU statistics, from 2005, the main users of primates were France (3789), the UK (3115) and Germany (2086).

What kind of monkeys are used in research?

The majority of primates used are Old World monkeys which include macaques, baboons and the African Green monkey. Some New World monkeys are also used such as squirrel monkeys, marmosets and tamarins. All these species are listed under Appendix II of CITES (the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) – meaning that the species could become endangered if trade is not controlled.

Where do the monkeys come from?

Many of the primates used in European laboratories are imported from countries outside of the EU. Some are taken from the wild and exported to the EU from countries such as Mauritius and Barbados.

Others will have either been born (known as F1 generation) or bred (known as F2 plus generation) in captivity in their country of origin from breeding colonies often permitted to be 're-stocked' with monkeys taken directly from the wild. F1 generation primates are those where one or both parents have been captured from the wild.

What kinds of experiments are carried out?

According to the most recent figures available from the EU (2005), 67% of primates are used in toxicological (poisoning) research. Such testing can last for months, during which the primates are dosed daily with chemicals or drugs through injection or forced ingestion.

Fundamental (curiosity driven) research accounts for around 14% of procedures and may include studies in neurological research and other human disease. Many of these primate studies involve the implantation of electrodes and/or brain damage.

Medical research accounts for 17% and includes development and quality control of products and devices. It may be surprising to learn that less than 20% of primate experiments are done in order to see whether human medicines are likely to work.

Why are primates used in research?

There are many reasons why monkeys and other animals are used in experiments, the conservatism of regulators being one of them. This is illustrated by the insistence of European medicine regulators to continue with acute toxicity (poisoning) experiments on animals when even the pharmaceutical industry agrees they are all but redundant.

Do primate experiments work?

Although it is true that the development of new treatments almost always involves animals, the key question is whether, scientifically, their use is necessary or beneficial. Despite the general physical similarity between nonhuman primates and humans, this does not mean that the effect of a chemical will be the same in both species.

At a key international regulatory forum, the International Conference on Harmonisation acknowledged that in terms of the way in which a drug is handled by the body, monkeys can differ from humans as much as any other species. The Food and Drug Administration in the US stated in a press release in January 2006 that “nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies.”

Why is the ECEAE against primate testing?

There are no morally relevant differences between nonhuman primates and humans that would justify doing to them what we would never consider doing to human beings. Nonhuman primates share many important characteristics of humans. They are intelligent and highly-evolved animals with complex behavioural and social needs that laboratories and breeding centres can never hope to meet adequately.

In additional to ethical objections to animal experimentation, there are also strong scientific arguments against the use of primates in research. Because of biological differences between humans and other primates, as well as the unnatural conditions in which the primates must live, the results of such research cannot be safely and reliably extrapolated to humans.

The ECEAE is against experiments on all animals irrespective of the species.

What are the alternatives if we don't use primates?

Many cutting-edge non-animal techniques have already replaced some primate use; others show much potential but lack support or investment. But many of the challenges that must be tackled are not technological but cultural, economic and political. Like all animal experiments, the use of primates is deeply ingrained into the "way things are done".

Crucially, ending primate experiments does not depend upon identifying off-the-shelf replacements for every single kind of procedure in which primates are currently used, as some suggest. A battery of different scientific and policy approaches will ultimately be more predictive, cheaper, and of course much more humane than primate tests.

What is public opinion on primate research?

A 2009 opinion poll in six EU states carried out by YouGov, a leading polling company, showed that an overwhelming majority (81%) of those people surveyed agree or strongly agree that the new EU animal experiments law should prohibit all experiments causing pain or suffering to primates.

In 2007, a clear majority of MEPs signed Written Declaration 40/2007 which called for a phase-out in primate experiments. And in 2006, in response to the European Commission's public consultation on the future of Directive 86/609/EEC (the EU animal experiments law), 82% of those that responded stated that they did not believe that primate experiments were acceptable. Your top 10 questions answered!

How many monkeys are used in European research?

The latest available statistics (from 2005) show that EU member states used 10,449 nonhuman primates for research.

Which EU countries are the biggest users of primates in research?

According to the latest EU statistics, from 2005, the main users of primates were France (3789), the UK (3115) and Germany (2086).

What kind of monkeys are used in research?

The majority of primates used are Old World monkeys which include macaques, baboons and the African Green monkey. Some New World monkeys are also used such as squirrel monkeys, marmosets and tamarins. All these species are listed under Appendix II of CITES (the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) – meaning that the species could become endangered if trade is not controlled.

Where do the monkeys come from?

Many of the primates used in European laboratories are imported from countries outside of the EU. Some are taken from the wild and exported to the EU from countries such as Mauritius and Barbados.

Others will have either been born (known as F1 generation) or bred (known as F2 plus generation) in captivity in their country of origin from breeding colonies often permitted to be 're-stocked' with monkeys taken directly from the wild. F1 generation primates are those where one or both parents have been captured from the wild.

What kinds of experiments are carried out?

According to the most recent figures available from the EU (2005), 67% of primates are used in toxicological (poisoning) research. Such testing can last for months, during which the primates are dosed daily with chemicals or drugs through injection or forced ingestion.

Fundamental (curiosity driven) research accounts for around 14% of procedures and may include studies in neurological research and other human disease. Many of these primate studies involve the implantation of electrodes and/or brain damage.

Medical research accounts for 17% and includes development and quality control of products and devices. It may be surprising to learn that less than 20% of primate experiments are done in order to see whether human medicines are likely to work.

Why are primates used in research?

There are many reasons why monkeys and other animals are used in experiments, the conservatism of regulators being one of them. This is illustrated by the insistence of European medicine regulators to continue with acute toxicity (poisoning) experiments on animals when even the pharmaceutical industry agrees they are all but redundant.

Do primate experiments work?

Although it is true that the development of new treatments almost always involves animals, the key question is whether, scientifically, their use is necessary or beneficial. Despite the general physical similarity between nonhuman primates and humans, this does not mean that the effect of a chemical will be the same in both species.

At a key international regulatory forum, the International Conference on Harmonisation acknowledged that in terms of the way in which a drug is handled by the body, monkeys can differ from humans as much as any other species. The Food and Drug Administration in the US stated in a press release in January 2006 that “nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies.”

Why is the ECEAE against primate testing?

There are no morally relevant differences between nonhuman primates and humans that would justify doing to them what we would never consider doing to human beings. Nonhuman primates share many important characteristics of humans. They are intelligent and highly-evolved animals with complex behavioural and social needs that laboratories and breeding centres can never hope to meet adequately.

In additional to ethical objections to animal experimentation, there are also strong scientific arguments against the use of primates in research. Because of biological differences between humans and other primates, as well as the unnatural conditions in which the primates must live, the results of such research cannot be safely and reliably extrapolated to humans.

The ECEAE is against experiments on all animals irrespective of the species.

What are the alternatives if we don't use primates?

Many cutting-edge non-animal techniques have already replaced some primate use; others show much potential but lack support or investment. But many of the challenges that must be tackled are not technological but cultural, economic and political. Like all animal experiments, the use of primates is deeply ingrained into the "way things are done".
Crucially, ending primate experiments does not depend upon identifying off-the-shelf replacements for every single kind of procedure in which primates are currently used, as some suggest. A battery of different scientific and policy approaches will ultimately be more predictive, cheaper, and of course much more humane than primate tests.

What is public opinion on primate research?

A 2009 opinion poll in six EU states carried out by YouGov, a leading polling company, showed that an overwhelming majority (81%) of those people surveyed agree or strongly agree that the new EU animal experiments law should prohibit all experiments causing pain or suffering to primates.

In 2007, a clear majority of MEPs signed Written Declaration 40/2007 which called for a phase-out in primate experiments. And in 2006, in response to the European Commission's public consultation on the future of Directive 86/609/EEC (the EU animal experiments law), 82% of those that responded stated that they did not believe that primate experiments were acceptable. 

Donate today!

Please help our campaign to end animal experiments

Top of the page