ABOUT 10,000 non-human primates are used in laboratories across Europe each year, with more than a third of them undergoing "procedures" in Britain.

Most will be deliberately poisoned with an overdose of chemicals or drugs by pharmaceutical companies. Over a period of days, weeks or months, monkeys suffer the effects of these toxicity tests: retching and vomiting, uncontrollable diarrhoea, tremors, liver failure and death.

Aside from the appalling cruelty, there are sound scientific reasons why testing on animals is unacceptable. More than 150 MPs have already signed Early Day Motion 1704, which calls for a ban on the use of primates, while animal protection groups across Europe are supporting that aim.

In the UK, Animal Aid today launched a countrywide campaign inviting members of the public to sign petitions and postcards on street stalls in more than 30 towns and cities.

People wishing to add their name to the petition or find out more about experiments on primates should visit www.animalaid.org.uk Andre Menache, Scientific Advisor, Animal Aid, The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge, Kent.