Primates: Animal Experiments

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 13th July 2021.

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Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's policy is on the importation by the UK for the purposes of scientific research of (a) the offspring of wild-caught non-human primates and (b) non-human primates from supply establishments that trap wild monkeys for breeding purposes and export.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Non-human primates are only used in research where absolutely necessary and where they are considered the most appropriate and scientifically justified species. They play an important role in the public safety testing of novel pharmaceuticals prior to human trials, fulfilling international guidelines and national regulatory requirements.

The import of non-human primates is controlled by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Captive-bred specimens may be traded under CITES rules, including first generation offspring bred in a controlled environment where at least one parent was sourced from the wild.

CITES allows for the introduction of wild sourced specimens into captive breeding facilities to reduce the effects of inbreeding in the captive population. Any introduction must be in line with CITES requirements, including having no detrimental impact on the species survival in the wild and being in line with any domestic laws. Where the UK Government is confident that these conditions have been met, imports will be permitted.

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