UAR in Mauritius
Macaques, like humans, are not indigenous to the island of Mauritius, isolated as it is in the Indian ocean. Nobody is sure when they arrived, but it is presumed todays Mauritian macaques are descendants of the pets of early settlers. Now they are abundant on the island and considered an agricultural pest.
Breeding and rearing macaques for biomedical research is an important business in Mauritius, contributing to and diversifying the Mauritian economy away from dependence on tourism and agriculture.
Macaques are regularly flown from Mauritius to the UK and other destinations for research. This well established and well regulated trade has recently become a focus for misleading antivivisection campaigns.
As a result the Mauritian government asked UAR to send a representative to Mauritius to discuss with the government and breeder groups how best they can inform the public and media about their macaque business. Dr Bella Williams, UAR's Communication and Public Engagement Manager, is currently there meeting with government, business and academic representatives.
While there she will advise on how increasing openness and transparency has helped to reinforce positive public opinion in the UK towards animal research.
Bella will also join with government and industry representatives in a press conference on Friday to talk about the importance of the Mauritian macaque breeders in biomedical research.