International Primatological Society
Member Login 07/25/2021
Trade in Primates Captured in the Wild

According to Article 11 of the Bylaws, “The Society may enact policy statements through the recommendation of the Council followed by ratification by ballot of the membership, or a vote at the General Assembly.” The proposed new IPS policy was developed by a working group including Angela M. Maldonado, Mary Blair, Claire Beastall, Drew Cronin, Nicholas Malone, Sian Waters, Daniel Stiles, and Janette Wallis. It has been endorsed by the IPS Council. The new policy reads as follows:

Trade in Primates Captured in the Wild

WHEREAS trade in live primates, both legal and illegal, is a major threat to nonhuman primate conservation; and

WHEREAS the trade in the byproducts of dead primates (bodies, skins, skulls, skeletons and trophies) involves an estimate of a million animals per year; and

WHEREAS the capture of nonhuman primates from the wild is stressful for the animals and increases the suffering, risk of injuries, spread of disease and even death during capture, storage and transport; and 

WHEREAS the use of illegally acquired and traded primates for public display and private ownership often involves species that are at high risk of extinction and sometimes fraudulently declared as captive bred;

The International Primatological Society therefore RECOMMENDS:

  • THAT laboratories conducting research on primates ensure that the animals they acquire are legally sourced and obtained from recognized and genuine captive breeding facilities.
  • THAT the scientific community ensures that the 3Rs of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement[1] are adopted wherever this is possible in the context of scientific objectives.
  • THAT the illegal trade of all primate species be discontinued and efforts be increased to implement and enforce national laws and CITES.
  • THAT CITES, working with INTERPOL and the World Customs Union, strengthens actions to prevent the illegal trade of CITES-listed primates and that it promotes efforts to prosecute those involved in trafficking and repatriate illegally traded specimens, as called for in Article VIII of the Convention.
  • THAT wildlife attractions conduct due diligence and ensure that any primates they do acquire have been legally sourced and traded in accordance with national legislation and CITES.
[1] 3Rs: replacement - seeking viable alternatives to the use of live animals in research, reduction - using the minimum number of research subjects while maintaining the validity of the experimental design, and refinement - or “decreasing the incidence or severity of inhuman procedures applied to those animals which have to be used” (Russell and Burch, 1959). Primatologists are encouraged to maintain a familiarity with evolving definitions of the 3Rs and related best practices in research.

Suggested readings:

Buchanan-Smith, H.M., Rennie, A.E., Vitale, A., Pollo, S., Prescott, M.J., and Morton, D.B. (2005). Harmonising the definition of refinement. Animal Welfare 14:379-384.

Malone, N.M., Fuentes, A. and White, F.J. (2010). Ethics commentary: subjects of knowledge and control in field primatology. Am. J. Primatol., 72: 779–784. doi: 10.1002/ajp.20840

Russell, W.M.S. and Burch, R.L. (1959). The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. Universities Federation for Animal Welfare: Wheathampstead, UK.

© 1995-2021 The International Primatological Society. All Rights Reserved.     Contact  |   Privacy  |   Terms of Use