Sunday, July 06, 2008

Bio-Weapons Testing Fears Fueled Over African Monkey Trade

"Hundreds of endangered African monkeys are being taken from their natural habitat and sold for scientific experiments, as well to a “secretive” biological laboratory in Iran, London's Sunday Times reported.

In an undercover investigation by the Times, animal trader Nazir Manji said he sells some 4,000 vervet monkeys a year to laboratories all around the world for about $100 each.

The monkeys, although protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species — or Cities — are likely to undergo sometimes painful experiments ultimately leading to their death, the paper reported.

Manji, who has been exporting monkeys for 22 years, said Iran's Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute bought 215 vervet monkeys from him this year.

The biological research institute, which has headquarters near Tehran, has been accused in the past by an Iranian opposition group of conducting biological weapons testing, it is reported, further fueling suspicions that the monkeys are being used for nefarious purposes.

Tanzanian animal dealer Filbert Rubibira was asked last year to prepare a sale for the Chinese military for “scientific purposes.” He told an undercover Times reporter that his company sells animals to any willing buyer, regardless of the fate of the monkeys."

Dunno. Seems to me its a toss-up as to which is the most simian, and dollars to doughnuts old Ahmadimeadozen is bringing them to Iran for one of two purposes.

Family reunion. Or monkey-business.

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