The Israeli government is coming to the rescue of 1,250 macaque monkeys at the Mazor monkey breeding farm. This week, the Shmurat Hakofim company, which is responsible for the monkeys care, said in court that it can no longer support the animals due to a lack of state funding and a shortage of food. The company also said the state has not delivered funds despite promising to do so, according to a Haaretz report Monday.
Created in Israel over 20 years ago to breed monkeys for medical experimentation abroad, Mazor was shut down following following protests from animal rights groups. The animal rights website All Creatures.org has described Mazor as “a link in the chain of cruel trade in which monkeys are forcibly removed from their natural environment then flown thousands of miles in small cages to laboratories or breeding facilities. These animals will have been separated from their family groups, the young brutally separated from their mothers.”
According to Haaretz, Israeli law allows monkeys born in captivity to be sold for medical experimentation. While the Mazor-born monkeys were transferred to zoos, the more than 1,000 captured in the wild remained at the farm, thus putting their survival in jeopardy.
The state said this week that it will be transferring 4.4 million shekels (approximately $1.5 million) to Shmurat Hakofim for the care of the monkeys for the next four years. Additionally, 184,000 NIS will be transferred to the Shmurat Hakofim immediately to provide for the macaques for the next three months.
At the same time, the state disputed allegations by the company that the monkeys’ situation could deteriorate to disaster level within days, and said that responsibility to care for the monkeys belongs solely to Shmurat Hakofim. A motion by the company two months ago to force the Israeli government to create and finance a sanctuary for the monkeys was rejected by the High Court, who agreed with the state’s argument that care for the monkeys was Shmurat Hakofim’s responsibility.