Tiny lemur with big round eyes, the cute lemur will be sure to fall for you. But it has the advantage of sharing certain characteristics with us, which makes it a coveted animal by laboratories. However, an association is calling for the end of animal experiments carried out on this species in a branch of the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) located in Brunoy (Essonne).
The animal house is home to nearly 500 lemurs, the world’s largest breeding of lemurs, on which studies relating to development and aging are being carried out. “They are being held there for animal testing. Mixed teams of researchers from the MNHN, CNRS and other institutions are indeed passionate about these descendants of individuals captured in Madagascar, in particular because of their small size which makes them as easy to handle as mice while sharing with the Man a more important heritage ”than the latter, explained Friday, October 29 Muriel Arnal, founding president of the association called One Voice.
“We are not denouncing the breeding conditions at the moment because we do not have the inspection reports. It is the destination of these animals that we denounce. It is believed that they should not be used in labs, ”she added. The association says it requested documents a few months ago from the Commission on Access to Administrative Documents. “We are denied inspection reports. We will therefore go to court, ”assured Muriel Arnal.
For its part, the MNHN affirms that lemecoebes are bred with respect for animal welfare for “good quality of research”. “We study the moth for its specific aging and metabolism capacities, functions quickly modified by stress. We therefore want animals in good health and not under stress, ”commented Jean-Marie Héliès, senior veterinarian in charge of animal welfare at the MNHN.
“Leces have lesions in the brain as they age that are similar to those found in Alzheimer’s. Potentially, they hold the keys to understanding, at the molecular and tissue level, mechanisms that could make it possible to treat Alzheimer’s but also cancer and all pathologies linked to aging, ”he added.
They are housed in groups in aviaries “in conditions close to nature”. “They have ropes and nests and have lots of equipment for playing, jumping and running. They have fresh fruit, a meal based on mealworms to stimulate their natural behavior, ”says the veterinarian. Not sure that’s enough to appease animal advocates.