The Mazor breeding farm currently holds 1,500 long tailed macaque monkeys. Some of these monkeys were wild caught on the island of Mauritius, while others were born in captivity. Mazor is a link in the chain of cruel trade in which monkeys are forcibly removed from their natural environment then flown thousands of miles in small cages to laboratories or breeding facilities. These animals will have been separated from their family groups, the young brutally separated from their mothers.
Mazor is little more than a monkey breeding factory, whose manager considers the monkeys to be "production units" whose sole purpose is to increase profits, through the sale of the offspring to laboratories. To further increase profitability, the young are separated early from their mothers, allowing these females to mate as soon as possible. Early forced separation is traumatic to both the young and the mothers. These mothers will cry out and cling in desperation to the bars of their cages in a vain attempt to look for their young. The young who have been moved to a separate enclosure, will in turn look for their mothers and display signs of severe distress. Not all of these animals will survive this difficult transition and some will die.
Those who survive will have their chests tattooed with a four digit serial number and then be sold to laboratories in Europe, the US and Israel. Every year, hundreds of these terrified young monkeys will be forced to travel huge distances in tiny crates to faraway destinations, to a fate worse than death, which awaits them. Each of these "units" will fill the pockets of the breeding farm manager to the tune of $3000.
The vast majority of these young monkeys will be sold to laboratories that specialize in toxicology (poisoning tests). Among the clients of Mazor are Covance (Germany), the Swedish centre for Biological studies, as well as laboratories in the UK, Belgium, Italy and the US. The monkeys will be housed in miserable conditions and will undergo toxicity tests in which they will be injected or force fed with drugs and other chemicals. Most of the animals will die during these tests, and those who survive will be killed at the end of the experiment.
Most of the monkeys sold to laboratories within Israel will undergo invasive brain experiments.. These experiments involve water deprivation, immobilization in a primate chair for extended periods of time, surgical removal of the top of the skull, and implantation of equipment in the skull and the brain itself. These types of experiment typically last several years, after which most of the monkeys will be killed. In rare instances, individual monkeys are released and allowed to undergo rehabilitation in sanctuaries. This is a relatively recent phenomenon and is due in large part to public outcry.
The airline El-Al announced its decision to stop flying animals for research purposes. This decision removes El-Al from the vicious cycle of animal research trade, and removes it from the trade in monkeys from the Mazor Farm in particular.
El-Al joined hundreds of international airlines that teamed up through an international campaign to stop flying animals for research purposes. The most significant impact the El-Al decision carries is on the trade in monkeys run by the Mazor Farm that imports dozens of monkeys yearly from their wild habitat in the island of Mauritius. The monkeys are caged, separated forcefully from their mothers, and sold to research labs – few in Israel and most in Europe and the United States.
El-Al has been flying monkeys to and from the Mazor Farm for the last 20 years – ever since the farm was founded. The public outcry against the Mazor Farm and against El-Al has become more powerful in recent months after the exposé on the journey of horrors that 240 young monkeys went through en route from the Mazor Farm to a shady toxicity lab in the US.
After a year and a half of intense lobbying by our organisation the Environment Minister Gilad Erdan made an official announcement on 11 January 2011concerning the trade in monkeys destined for research laboratories and the Mazor monkey breeding farm in particular. The announcement by the minister states that:
the importation of wild caught monkeys by the Mazor facility will be prohibited six months from now
the export of monkeys from the Mazor facility will be permitted only for purposes of essential medical research
The organisation “Behind Closed Doors” thanked Minister Erdan for the steps taken to significantly restrict the trade in monkeys destined for laboratory experiments (see content of official letter below). We intend to keep a close watch on developments over the next few months to ensure that the number of any new wild caught monkeys imported by the Mazor facility is kept to an absolute minimum until the official importation ban takes effect. In addition, we will ensure that the new trade restrictions to be communicated by the Nature Reserves Authority in Israel to the CITES secretariat are fully complied with and enforced.
We are hopeful that the new restrictions imposed by the Environment Ministry together with the decision by El Al not to transport animals for research purposes will severely disrupt the trade in monkeys destined for medical research and help to speed up the closure of the Mazor facility. We would like to sincerely thank all those who took the trouble to write to the minister to help him make up his mind about the trade in monkeys destined for laboratory experiments.
“Behind Closed Doors” is now determined more than ever to shut down the Mazor facility. We will continue to keep you up to date and call on you when the time comes to act.