Giant ‘Monkey’ Laboratory Victim Requests That PM Modi Reinstate Protections for Rhesus Macaques

Posted on by Shreya Manocha

Following the disastrous removal of protections that had been afforded to rhesus macaques for 50 years under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, supporters of PETA India and the Aashray Foundation joined a giant wounded and tortured monkey in New Delhi to beseech Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reinstate and strengthen these protections. The action followed PETA India’s written appeal to the prime minister last year outlining all the reasons why such protections are needed, including that they would help prevent rhesus macaques from being killed or captured to be used for meat, experimentation, or performances or by the pet industry, among other forms of abuse. 

In the letter to Prime Minister Modi, PETA India raised concerns over evidence that unscrupulous foreign monkey importers were hoping to pillage India’s rhesus macaque population. Specifically, an office memorandum published by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) on 11 May 2022 highlighted possible attempts by the Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings to export vulnerable live monkeys from India for use in experimentation. In response, the WCCB alerted its field formations to the situation to prevent the illegal export of primates from India. This development reveals that Indian rhesus macaques face imminent threat.  


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In addition to being revered in Hinduism as earthly representatives of Lord Hanuman, rhesus macaques fulfil an important role in local ecosystems by dispersing seeds – due to their frequent consumption of fruit – and their absence can be detrimental to forests. Monkeys taken from their natural habitats by wildlife dealers in Asia are often crammed into small wooden crates and transported in the dark, terrifying cargo holds of planes for as long as 30 hours.  

The stress of capture and transportation can weaken the animals’ immune systems, increasing the risk of spreading zoonotic diseases. In laboratories, monkeys are typically confined – alone – to small metal cages and tormented in experiments in which they’re cut open, poisoned, crippled, forced to become addicted to drugs, electroshocked, and killed.

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