Animal Justice Project and Swedish Partner Djurrättsalliansen have received information on the import and use of 120 macaque monkeys for futile malaria experiments at Karolinska Institutet – a leading university in Stockholm, and have launched a campaign to halt the import and end the use of primates in research within Sweden, forever!

120 monkeys for import into Sweden

Djurrättsalliansen has obtained documents revealing that Karolinska Institutet – the last university in Scandinavia to continue using primates for research – has recently applied to import macaque monkeys for experiments from the United States. We can reveal that a group of animal researchers at Karolinska Institute has received ethical approval to conduct a series of invasive experiments on 120 captive-bred macaque monkeys for the purpose of developing a vaccine against human malaria.

Animal Justice Project and Djurrättsalliansen are working together to halt the planned import of these monkeys, and urge Karolinska Institutet to finally put an end the use of primates.

What will life be like for the 120 monkeys at Karolinska Institutet?

The Swedish researchers will infect 120 macaque monkeys with malaria parasites and then perform multiple invasive procedures on the monkeys over a period of five years. The procedures will include bone marrow biopsies, repeated vaccinations and blood sampling (up to 25 times per year). Lymph node biopsies will be obtained from the armpit or groin. Although the biopsies will be performed under general anaesthesia the monkeys will be likely to experience pain and discomfort afterwards.

All of the monkeys will be housed in cages, possibly 2 meters high and 4 meters wide. Some with a floor area as small as two square meters. Stress and fear is experienced by monkeys used in experiments as a result of their being caged, their inability to express normal behaviour and separation from their family groups. This is not accounted for when researchers put studies such as this into bands of Severity.

Where will the monkeys come from and when?

It is not currently known where in the United States the 120 monkeys will leave from, but it is possible they are being exported from either a university campus, or one of well-known primate breeding facilities, such as Primate Products or Worldwide Primates, Inc. – a company that supplies primates to the vivisection industry in the United States.

The International Primate Protection League (IPPL) has revealed that the following U.S. businesses exported over 200 macaques in 2014 alone:


A staggering number of animals are also imported into the United States from China. In 2014, 21,768 long-tailed macaques were imported in from China, Mauritius, Cambodia and Vietnam, mainly via Houston, Texas. Most were imported into Covance Research Products, Inc.

It is unlikely that the monkeys will be exported directly into Sweden, but will instead fly to Hartelust (Holland), for quarantine. It is possible that they will spend the last leg of their journey in a van, similar to the van that four monkeys died in during 2005. Perhaps Karolinska Institutet, afraid of further criticism, will fly them from Hartelust to Stockholm by plane. Either way, the monkeys will be subjected to a horrendous journey that they may remember for the rest of their short lives in the laboratory.

We do not yet know how or when the monkeys will be transported to Sweden, but we do know that they have not yet arrived. So NOW is the time to #REACT

Animal research and malaria

Nobody can deny the devastating effects of malaria on humans. It is a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people each year. But primates, not even chimpanzees, who are evolutionarily close to humans – are not good ‘models’ for human disease. Researchers not only use macaque monkeys, but they also do not specify the species required. The long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) AND the rhesus macaque (M. mulatta) are listed to be used. These researchers appear oblivious to the fact that there are vast and important genetic differences between species. It begs to question, why did the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body – responsible for overseeing animal experiments – grant ethical approval for an experiment, without even knowing the exact species to be used?

“In the field of vaccine development, the use of non-human primates has been a spectacular failure” – Dr. Andre Menache BSc (Hons), BVSc, Dip. ECAWBM (AWSEL), MRCVS, Animal Justice Project Science Advisor.

There are far more superior methods of research that do not involve animals. The best way to develop human vaccines is by studying human populations, and the human immune system. A system for developing human vaccines is already in use – the in vitro MIMIC system – selected by the US government to develop a vaccine against Ebola.

Another major advance in human vaccine technology is called ‘vaccinomics’ – Animal Justice Project has launched a Special Report on the futile Sweden primate malaria study (read the report).

Dr Menache and Dr Ray Greek provide evidence at the EU Parliament against animal research in 2015 as part of a European Citizens’ Initiative ‘STOP VIVISECTION’ which collected more than 1,150,000 certified signatures asking people to support a paradigm shift in the way biomedical and toxicological research are being conducted.

Not only is using monkeys in the Karolinska Institute research unethical, EU law set down in Directive 2010/63/EU states that it is “essential, both on moral and scientific grounds, to ensure that each use of an animal is carefully evaluated as to the scientific or educational validity, usefulness and relevance of the expected result of that use”.

Animal Justice Project and Djurrättsalliansen believe the experiments at Karolinska Institute contravene this EU law because:

  • On the basis of current science, including genetics and evolutionary biology, the monkey ‘model’ is not reliable or relevant for the study of human disease
  • On the basis of current science, the likely harm to the monkeys far outweighs the hypothetical benefits to human medical progress (0.004%)
  • Macaque monkeys are largely immune to the common form of human malaria
  • Non-animal methods, including MIMIC and VACCINOMICS are available today and are relevant to the development of human vaccines

Take action!

We can halt the import of 120 macaque monkeys into Karolinska Institutet and their devastating experiments on primates, but we need your help TODAY!

1. Sign the petition

With your support we can put an end to this. Sign and share the petition to Karolinska Institutet!

2. Special report

Read and share the Special Report by our Science Advisor, Dr. Andre Menache, outlining why the primate experiments at Karolinska Institutet are not only unethical, but also futile and of dubious legal standing (read the report).

3. Raise awareness

Get breaking campaign news by follow us on social media. Share the plight of these monkeys by sharing our posts and using the campaign hashtag #StopMonkeyExports


Macaques are the species of choice for many researchers


Monkeys at Hartelust, Holland. Ceramic tile walls may make cleaning easier for workers, but they offer no benefit to the inhabitants


Monkeys are imported into the United States for companies such as Primate Products in small, wire floor crates like this (SOURCE: PETA).


Macaque monkeys used by researchers at Karolinska Institutet can live in cages only 2 meters high and 4 meters wide (SOURCE: PETA).

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