How many ways can primates be exploited? Unfortunately, the list seems endless. A significant way that springs to mind concerns the large numbers of primates used in medical research; in many situations, these animals are kept in poor, abusive conditions (or certainly their basic social and individual needs cannot be met in such an environment). In their countries of origin, many primates are hunted as part of the bushmeat trade and are used not only for food but as trinket items and items for ceremonial purposes. It could also be argued that eco-tourism is a form of exploitation and increases the risk of transmission of zoonotic diseases and habituating primates to human presence (with potentially negative results); at the same time, eco-tourism can benefit local communities. Loss of primate habitats due to deforestation – the exploitation of natural resources – is a prime reason for widespread species decline. In addition to the usual poaching, illegal wildlife traders capture primates to sell on, and many of these animals wind up as exotic pets or entertainment for humans in circuses and some zoos. Here’s an introduction to an organisation in the United States, Primarily Primates, that takes in these animals when they are no longer wanted:
Human consumption of primates, and exploitation of habitats, decimates their populations all over the world.
Pages under this section of the website will explore in depth different routes of exploitation and consider whether and how these human-animal relationships might be changed. For comparison and contrast, we will include explorations of domesticated (and some other) animals here as well.