NABR Files Petition Challenging the Listing of Long-Tailed Macaque by the IUCN

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WASHINGTON, June 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Working with recognized, independent scientists, the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) filed a petition today with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) challenging the recent designation of the long-tailed macaque (Cynomolgus macaque) as endangered under IUCN listing criteria. This designation is a result of improperly used data that do not support species listing as endangered. NABR calls for an immediate review.

National Association for Biomedical Research President Matthew R. Bailey said: “Nonhuman primates make up less than 0.5% of all animals in research, yet they play a critical role in developing new drugs, devices and vaccines for people and for pets. Tens of thousands of drugs and therapeutics may never make it through the research and development pipeline without long-tailed macaques in research. The listing of long-tailed macaques and any ensuing importation restrictions must be based on the best available scientific evidence. Arbitrary restrictions imposed on the importation of long-tailed macaques could jeopardize millions of human lives and threaten global public health.”

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“The listing of the long-tailed macaque as endangered by the IUCN sets a dangerous precedent because this determination is not based on peer-reviewed scientific information. This is particularly troubling because arbitrary actions like this make life-saving medical research even more difficult to conduct in the U.S. and other countries.”

The IUCN assessment completed in 2022 fails to present scientific evidence supporting reclassification of the long-tailed macaque from vulnerable to endangered. The IUCN assessment contains numerous errors and misstatements, and does not provide actual evidence of species declines compared to past evaluations.

Nonhuman primates are currently irreplaceable in neuroscience, neurodegenerative disorders, infectious diseases, immunotherapy, reproduction, aging, chronic inflammatory disease and other areas of science. Since nonhuman primates and humans share between 93% and 98% of the same DNA, have similar brain anatomies, and share similar body systems, they are a key to biomedical research discoveries that yield new drugs, vaccines and biologics. The overwhelming majority of drugs on the market today relied on safety and efficacy data from multiple animal models before being allowed to move to human clinical trials as demonstrated by the Foundation for Biomedical Research’s top 25 drugs and animal models study.

National Association for Biomedical Research President Matthew R. Bailey will testify before the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Animals Committee meeting in Geneva on Monday, June 19, 2023, calling for a review of the endangered listing.

BACKGROUND

Long-tailed macaques are used extensively in medical research to develop drugs in the United States. The National Academies report Nonhuman Primate Models in Biomedical Research: State of the Science and Future Needs (2023) emphasizes that animal testing followed by human clinical trials currently remains the best way to examine complex physiological, neuroanatomical, reproductive, developmental and cognitive effects of drugs to determine if they are safe and effective for market approval. The major regulatory agencies across the world, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency, require most new drugs and biologics to be evaluated for measures of safety and efficacy with rodent and non-rodent animal models, including nonhuman primates, before human clinical trials can safely begin.  

On March 7, 2022, the IUCN determined that the long-tailed macaque should be considered “endangered” under IUCN criteria. The basis for this determination is outlined in an assessment completed by M.F. Hansen and other contributors (Hansen et al. 2022).

On June 15, 2023, NABR filed a petition with the IUCN challenging the change in listing status. Scientists involved in drafting the petition note the lack of data to support the recent status determination. In its review of Hansen et al. (2022) the petition notes that scientific literature referenced is often misinterpreted and such information does not demonstrate that the long-tailed macaque has declined.

The filing of this petition by NABR triggers a scientific review by the IUCN. During this review, scientists will review the best available scientific information to determine the status of the long-tailed macaque under IUCN criteria. At the conclusion of this process, the IUCN will announce its findings, and any changes in listing status.

About the National Association for Biomedical Research

Founded in 1979, the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) is the only 501(c)(6) nonprofit association dedicated to sound public policy for the humane use of animals in biomedical research, education and testing. Members include more than 340 universities, medical and veterinary schools, teaching hospitals, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, patient groups, and academic and professional societies who rely on humane and responsible animal research to advance global human and animal health. Learn more about us at www.nabr.org.

Contact: Eva Maciejewski

[email protected]

(202) 967-8305

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