Washington Update

FASEB Joins Support for Long-Tailed Macaques

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
On August 1, FASEB joined advocacy organizations Americans for Medical Progress (AMP) and the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) in issuing a public statement that advocates for the protection of long-tailed macaques. The long-tailed macaque—also known as crab-eating macaque or cynomolgus monkey—is the most common primate imported into the U.S. from Asia and serves as an important model for early-stage pharmaceutical research.

However, several factors have led to a current global shortage of long-tailed macaques. China’s decision to halt exports in 2020, surging research demand following the COVID-19 pandemic, questions surrounding their conservation status, and recent allegations that these species are illegally exported have all contributed to the shortage. Consequently, researchers and drug developers are finding it increasingly difficult to secure the animals needed for important pharmaceutical and preclinical studies, jeopardizing the U.S.’s research and development pipelines.

Scientists are deeply committed to the humane transportation, care, and use of animals. This includes ensuring that animals used in research are captive-bred and safeguarding their conservation in the wild. Recognizing the delicate balance between these two aspects, a coalition of nonprofit organizations, professional societies, and veterinary experts developed recommendations aimed at protecting at-risk wild animal populations while sustaining biomedical research progress.

The four recommendations, outlined in the public statement signed by 40 organizations, include:
  1. Expand nonhuman primate breeding capacity within the U.S.
  2. Initiate comprehensive long-tailed macaque population studies throughout South and Southeast Asia, Mauritius, and other countries where wild populations exist.
  3. Increase and expand international partnerships to initiate region-specific animal protection or mitigation strategies.
  4. Increase collaboration between the biomedical research community and international authorities that monitor and regulate animal use.
Together with FASEB, AMP, and FBR’s continued advocacy for animal research, the statement represents the community’s efforts to increase awareness about scientists’ commitment to animal welfare and the role nonhuman primate research plays in developing treatments that benefit humans and animals alike.