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In October 2011, ARFF launched Stolen from Paradise, a website arguing for a ban on the export from St. Kitts & Nevis of monkeys destined for the research industry. ARFF sent letters and emails to the Prime Minister and to the island’s tourism authority’s, and we encouraged animal advocates and visitors to the islands to do the same. This week the government responded.

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On January 9th, Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas met with Cabinet Ministers for the first meeting of 2012. In his post-cabinet meeting briefing, the Information Minister noted, “an animal welfare group has been active in the international media in denouncing the trade of monkeys from St. Kitts and their use in biomedical research.” He added that the two facilites on St. Kitts that export wild-caught monkeys have “experienced some challenge with respect to… the shipment of live monkeys overseas” (in 2011, under pressure from animal advocates, three airlines that were once carriers of monkeys from St. Kitts made commitments to no longer transport monkeys destined for laboratory experimentation). The minister explained that the government was sensitive to “concerns about animal rights,” but that the island’s monkeys are an important “resource” for use in research and testing.

The response was not what we were hoping for, but a negative response is better than no response at all. We now know that ARFF’s campaign has reached the highest levels of the Government of St. Kitts & Nevis.

ARFF will continue to protest the cruel trade in wild-caught monkeys from St. Kitts & Nevis. If you haven’t already done so, please contact the Prime Minister and politely ask for a ban on the export of monkeys destined for the research industry. Visit Stolen from Paradise for contact details and more information.

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