Canada Disregards U.S. Import Suspension, Allows Hundreds of Monkeys In From Cambodia

PETA and Action for Primates Warn Canadian Officials About U.S. Federal Monkey-Smuggling Indictment

For Immediate Release:
June 5, 2023

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


In urgent letters sent today, PETA and Action for Primates alert the Canadian Wildlife Services, Health Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that hundreds, possibly thousands, of long-tailed macaques are being imported to Canada from Cambodia for use in laboratories, despite the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s suspension on such imports to the U.S. The organizations urge officials to halt primate importation immediately.

According to international trade data, Canada imported monkeys worth $1.23 million from Cambodia after Cambodian government officials were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in November 2022 for alleged smuggling. In February 2023, major importer Charles River Laboratories announced that it was suspending imports from Cambodia into the U.S. until it could ensure that the monkeys weren’t being captured illegally. The website of the Canadian government hasn’t been updated on this matter since March, but insiders have told PETA that 1,400 monkeys have arrived in Montréal over just the past 30 days.

“It appears U.S. officials aren’t warning Canadian authorities that Cambodian officials and nationals have been indicted for allegedly selling monkeys abducted from their forest home and falsely labeled as bred in captivity,” says PETA primate scientist Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “Canada must not allow itself to be the victim of ethics dumping by the monkey-importation industry.”

Long-tailed macaques have been driven to the brink of extinction, in large part due to the international wildlife trade to laboratories like Charles River Laboratories, which has Canadian facilities. Charles River Laboratories is under federal, civil, and criminal investigations for possible violations of U.S. monkey-importation laws, and currently more than 1,000 long-tailed macaques it imported into the U.S. from Cambodia are in limbo.

Importing monkeys also poses a grave and potentially fatal public health risk. Tuberculosis, a highly infectious disease that’s readily transmitted between monkeys and humans, is emerging in primate colonies globally. Monkeys from Cambodia have also been the source of a pathogen so deadly that the U.S. classifies it as a bioterrorism agent.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Action for Primates is a U.K.-based project that advocates globally on behalf of nonhuman primates. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

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