Ban Primate Imports for Research

Did you know it is still possible for live primates to be imported into Australia for the purpose of research?

The Australian Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has reintroduced her private members bill to ban this practice.

The bill is designed to address the cruel and inhumane trade in intelligent, live primates caught in the wild and sold to a booming research market. 

You can read Lee Rhiannon's second reading speech to the bill.

We believe the Australian government should close and lock the gate to the importation of primates for research. This is particularly the case given Australia has three facilities that breed primates for research.

A major undercover UK investigation in 2009 confirmed serious concerns about the trade, so it is important that Australia show leadership and sign off on a ban.

A ban will underline how important it is to end the global trade in wildlife which is one of the biggest threats to biodiversity.

Add your voice to the campaigning of Humane Research Australia to protect primates in Australia. 

The aim of ending the importation of primates for experimentation is also supported by Animals Australia, Sentient and other animal welfare organisations. 

For more information, please email our office.

Thank you!

Some more background...

Between 2000-2009 Australia imported:

  • 331 pig-tailed macaques listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) Red List of Threatened Species as vulnerable to extinction (from Indonesia)
  • 250 long-tailed macaques listed on the IUCN Red List (from Indonesia)
  • 71 owl monkeys listed on the IUCN Red List (from the US).

In 2014 Austraia imported another 37 macaques for experimention (from France).

It is recognised most of these primates are born to wild-caught captive monkeys in Asian facilities set up as lucrative money making facilities.

They effectively 'launder' wild caught monkeys and sell them as captive breeds. These monkeys are caught in barbaric ways, kept in filthy crowded conditions and transported inhumanely.

Australia is signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which commits to ensuring international trade in flora and fauna does not threaten a species' survival.

Further, Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council's (NHMRC) policy on non-human primates for scientific purposes states that "whenever possible investigators obtain non-human primates from National Breeding Centres" and "non-human primates imported from overseas must not be taken from wild populations and must be accompanied by documentation to certify their status."


2009 BUAV Report into Indonesia's trade in primates for research

Latest on Ban Primate Imports for Research


Speech: On the Prohibition of Live Imports of Primates for Research

17 Sep 2015

In this speech I reintroduce this Bill, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Prohibition of Live Imports of Primates for Research) Bill 2015 which amends the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to disallow the importation into Australia of live primates for the purposes of research.


Video: Primate Bill press conference with Helen Marston

22 Nov 2012

Senator Lee Rhiannon and Helen Marston (CEO, Humane Research Australia) spoke to media at Parliament House on Senator Rhiannon's proposed legislation to ban the import of primates for research.


Speech: Primate Imports Legislation

21 Nov 2012

Senator Rhiannon gave her second reading speech for her Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Prohibition of Live Imports of Primates for Research) Bill 2012.


Estimates: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Animals)

13 Feb 2012

Senator Rhiannon questioned the Minister and department officials about the slaughtering of Australian animals in the Middle East, money provided to assist farmers affected by the suspension of live animal exports, the creation of a national independent animal welfare office and the kangaroo trade with Russia.

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