Monkey business

The increasing numbers of primates entering the US for biomedical research — 265,521 monkeys between 1981 and 2000 — presents a clear case of cruelty against animals. By signing a petition, 1,200 people representing 21 nations have urged Nepal to shelve its plan of exporting monkeys and establishing laboratories in Nepal. The Wildlife Watch Group (WWG) and Animal Nepal have joined hands with the world’s leading animal welfare agencies and biologists to oppose breeding of Nepali monkeys for research in the US. According to WWG, potentially dangerous and lethal experiments will be conducted on them in Washington and Texas. The Nepali partners have helped the Washington National Primate Centre in the demand-and-supply operation. Several monkeys have so far been netted for samples of blood, stool, hair, and for other specimens.

Not only because the monkey is venerated as Lord Hanuman’s antecedents but also because it is subjected to cruel treatment that organisations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other animal welfare organisations are promoting and pursuing the animal’s cause. Most countries have slapped a ban on the great ape experimentation. In such circumstances, can Nepal justify providing its monkeys for outdated, unreliable and unethical methods of studies? Researchers may be able to thrive on legal loopholes because such legislation is virtually non-existent in Nepal. Herein arises the imperative of doing something to rectify matters with legislation to show some mercy to the mute beings.