Blood sampling from awake non-human primates (NHPs) is classically performed under constraint in the cephalic or saphenous vein. It is a challenging, potentially harmful and stressful procedure which may lead to biased results and raises ethical concerns. Laboratory NHPs undergo a head-restrained procedure allowing for a safer procedure of collecting blood from their ears. Using regular capillary blood collection devices 500 mu L of blood can be easily withdrawn per puncture point, which is sufficient for performing most of the usual modern biological assays. This procedure has been validated by measuring total proteins, cortisol and vasopressin concentrations from concomitant blood samples taken from the saphenous vein and the ear capillary vessels of macaques (n=16). We observed strong correlations between the blood concentrations of total proteins, cortisol and vasopressin (r=0.72, r=0.63, r=0.83, respectively; all P values <0.01) taken from the saphenous vein and from the ear capillary. There were no significant differences between blood concentrations taken from the saphenous vein and the ear capillary. Our alternative to the classical blood collection procedure is harmless and can be routinely performed, which can therefore improve scientific results while increasing animal welfare in accordance with the 3R (replacement, reduction and refinement) principles.