Tel Aviv rally: Monkey trade black stain on Israel
Animal rights activists, rock and rap groups protest Mazor Farm’s breeding, exporting of primates to Europe for vivisection purposes; Let Animals Live spokesperson Anat Refua: The farm is responsible for the fact that non-cruel alternatives to animal testing are not being applied
A few hundred people gathered at Tel Aviv’s Meir Park Friday afternoon to protest the breeding of monkeys for laboratory testing in Europe.
According to local animal rights groups, the primate breeding farm at Moshav Mazor (situated between Petach Tikva and Ben-Gurion Airport) places Israel in third place, after China and Mauritius, in the exportation of monkeys to Europe for vivisection purposes.
“This is a private business aimed solely for profit,” Anat Refua of the Let Animals Live group said just after rock band “Hebrew” kicked things off with three numbers from their new album.
“The monkeys are kidnapped in Mauritius and industrially bred at the farm; the babies are separated from their mothers and sent to the labs. This industry puts a large black stain on Israel,” she said.
According to Refua, the monkeys are used predominantly in toxicology tests for cosmetics and pharmaceutical companies and for brain research; these tests, she says, have ‘non-cruel’ alternatives.
“The Mazor Farm is responsible for the fact that these alternatives are not being applied,” she said.
Animal rights groups dismiss the Mazor Farm owners’ assertion that experimentation on monkeys may lead to the development of cures for human diseases such as AIDS, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease.
Nonhuman primates are unable to serve as models for these human-specific diseases and therefore conclusions from these experiments are not applicable to humans, the groups claim.
Actor Shai Avivi, who regularly MCs animal welfare events, urged those on hand to terminate their connection to Internet Zahav, one of the two largest Israeli Internet service providers, as its CEO Eli Holtzman is also a part-owner of the Mazor Farm.
“Cut off your Internet connection and then tell them why you did it,” he told the crowd.
Hard rock group Amstaff and rappers Kele 6 then took the stage and called on the demonstrators to move closer together and advance toward the stage.
“To move things forward we need to feel each other’s energy,” Amstaff lead singer Ido Lederman said before belting out one of the group’s hits.
Refua and Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Peer Wisner requested that activists turn to academics, the industry and the Knesset via letters and emails and demand that the Mazor Farm be shut down immediately.
“The monkeys reach horrible places where their skulls are sawed in two,” Refua said. “We are here to show the government that we are no longer willing to accept it.”