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Monkeys from the wild into Japanese laboratories

Raise your voice NOW!

ALIVE News 25 September, 1999

Oita City's Takasaki nature park is on of Japan's natural heritage sites, and a visit to the resident wild Japanese monkeys is a major source of enjoyment for tourists. However, we have learnt that the very same park has recently captured hundreds of monkeys without permission, and passed them on to research laboratories.

The wild Japanese monkey is a primate indigenous to Japan and listed in the red data book of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) as close to extinction. In Japan however, it is considered a pest harmful to crops, hunted without restriction, and killed or sent to research laboratories.

In the background are the researchers, seeing the monkey as a resource which because of its harmfulness can be procured in virtually limitless numbers, and do not think twice about using them in an experiment.

Having scoured a success in fighting the bad habit of selling cats and dogs to experimentors, we are now facing this new problem. We strongly oppose the practice of handing over monkeys as pests to research laboratories for the following reasons:

  1. Wild animals must not be used in experiments
  2. Animals in the wild belong to the community. Even when they are sometimes "eradicated", the animals must not be left to experimentors and related persons, for the benefit of few. Also, since origin, medical history, and age of wild animals are unknown, individual differences make results of medical experiments useless.
  3. Species close to extinction may not be used in experiments
  4. The Japanese monkey is listed in the international edition of the Red Data Book as close to extinction. Although it appears that in certain regions of Japan numbers are recovering through breeding, their existence in Japan as a whole is under threat due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Once a route has been opened for such a rare animal to be used in experiments, demand will take precedence over protection.
  5. The same protection for primates as for humans
  6. Primates including the Japanese monkey are the closest relatives of the human species, and feel psychological stress and physical pain much like us. Hence experiments on primates are equal to experiments on humans. Performing such experiments in the backroom, unchecked and allowing no discussion of the wider theoretical implications, is in contravention of societal norms.
  7. Towards legal regulation of animal experiments
  8. Japan is alone among developed nations not to control animal experiments by law, permitting researchers to perform in secret any cruel experiment whatsoever. The laboratory is transformed into a secret chamber where things happen well hidden from public scrutiny, and from where no information ever emerges. Performing experiments on primates under these conditions is reminiscent of the practices of the notorious Unit 731 or the Nazis, deeply shocking and repugnant.

Please, send a letter or fax to

Mr. Keinosuke Kinosita, Mayor of Oita City
2-31 Niagemachi, Oita City 870-8504, Japan
Fax +81 97 537 5656

Mr. Morihiko Hiramatsu, Governor of Oita Prefecture
3-1-1 Otemachi, Oita City 870-0022, Japan
Fax +81 97 532 5650