Malaysiakini Letter

Dont treat wildlife as economic units

N Surendran
Published:  |  Modified:

Animal rights and welfare groups, political parties and the Malaysian public are deeply concerned over the decision of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to lift the ban on the trade of Malaysian long-tailed macaques.

The reasons given the by the ministry are that the export of macaques is necessary to control the macaque population and to prevent humane-macaque conflict. We find the above excuses completely unacceptable.

  • What evidence has the ministry produced proving that there is a serious overpopulation problem?

  • How is it possible that there is an overpopulation problem when in fact macaque habitats have been progressively destroyed due to indiscriminate development?
  • Why not use humane methods, if at all there is a real population problem, such as sterilisation or humane culling?
  • How does the ministry justify the extreme cruelty that we know macaques are subjected to during transport overseas?
  • How does the ministry justify the horrendous suffering that macaques will undergo at animal testing/research facilities overseas?
  • How does the ministry justify the cruel slaughter of these poor animals for the pot overseas?
  • How does the ministry justify the inevitable increase in the regional market, both legal and illegal, for exotic wild life as a result of the lifting of the ban?
  • In particular, who is to profit financially from the export of macaques and their torture and death? Which company or companies will profit from the trade and who are its owners?

    Macaques are highly intelligent and social animals. The suffering they will undergo if they are captured and exported is simply unimaginable. Macaque mothers tend to their offspring like human mothers do. It is unethical and immoral to subject our macaques to the horrible process of capture, transportation, torture and death overseas. There is much evidence available of the regime of cruelty at animals testing labs and at restaurants.

    Mass capture and export overseas is not the solution to any alleged overpopulation problem. The environment and its indigenous fauna must be managed with a long-term vision and with respect and compassion for wildlife. Wildlife cannot be treated as if they were economic units or merchandise for money-making.

    No country can call itself civilised when it ill-treats its wildlife in so cruel a manner. We call upon Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Azmi Khalid to:

    • Immediately restore the ban on trade of macaques;

  • Halt all pending macaque shipments overseas;
  • Release all macaques currently in captivity and awaiting transportation;
  • Consult with animal welfare groups and experts to humanely respond to macaque problems.
  • The above letter is signed by the SPCA Selangor, the Malaysian Animal Assisted Theraphy for Disabled Association (PetPositive), PKR, the Malaysian Animal Rights and Welfare Society (Roar) and the Malaysian Association for Responsible Pet Ownership (Marpo).

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