BUAV launches petition urging Newcastle University to stop researchers experimenting on wild-caught baboons in Kenya

02/12/2013

The BUAV has launched a petition calling on Newcastle University to stop its researchers traveling to Kenya to carry out experiments on wild-caught primates.

An investigation carried out by the BUAV has uncovered the cruel capture and use of wild baboons in Kenya and the involvement of researchers from Newcastle University travelling to the country to conduct invasive research. Legislation in Kenya relating to animal experiments is outdated and hopelessly inadequate. Wild baboons are captured and held at the Institute of Primate Research (IPR) under conditions which seriously compromise their welfare and breach international guidelines, before being subjected to disturbing experiments.

In the UK, using wild-caught primates in research was effectively banned in 1995, yet publicly funded researchers from Newcastle University are bypassing UK law and are travelling to Kenya to use wild-caught baboons in disturbing and highly invasive experiments. This is also a blatant breach of recent guidance by UK funding bodies which requires UK researchers to maintain UK welfare standards when carrying out experiments abroad.

The BUAV investigation has uncovered the unacceptable conditions in which wild baboons and other primates were held at the Institute of Primate Research; conditions that compromised the welfare of baboons and failed to meet international welfare standards. Some of the baboons were housed on their own in barren metal cages. There was no enrichment.

These conditions can cause disturbed abnormal behaviour and take the form of pacing and circling. The introduction of baboons to others was often done poorly, resulting in fighting and injuries. Some infants were taken from their mothers at a young age and housed alone.

Researchers from Newcastle University have been conducting especially invasive brain surgery on baboons in which the individual’s head was placed into a stereotaxic frame and held in place whilst the skull was drilled open and parts of the brain removed (as seen in the photo). The animals were kept alive under anaesthetic for many hours while tests were carried out before being killed.

BUAV Director of Special Projects, Sarah Kite stated: ‘It is a mockery if UK researchers can bypass UK law and use public funds to go overseas to carry out horrific surgery on wild caught primates kept in such appalling conditions. Such practices and conditions would not be allowed in the UK. We urge Newcsastle University to stop its researchers from travelling to Kenya to experiment on wild caught primates.’

Please join our campaign to end this cruelty:

Watch and share our film: http://bit.ly/captivevideo

Sign and share our petition: http://bit.ly/NUbaboons