Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley and Chris Packham join celebrity line-up to speak out against baboon suffering in Kenya

17/12/2013

Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley, Chris Packham, Sir Jonathon Porritt, Mark Carwardine, Simon King, Wendy Turner-Webster and Peter Egan have all joined the call for an end to the cruel capture and use of wild baboons in disturbing experiments in Kenya following the BUAV’s latest investigation: Captive Cruelty.

Legislation in Kenya relating to animal experiments is outdated and hopelessly inadequate. Captive Cruelty highlights the capture of wild baboons who are then held at the Institute of Primate Research in Nairobi under conditions which seriously compromise their welfare and breach international guidelines. These individuals are then subjected to disturbing experiments, including some carried out by UK researchers.

In the UK, using wild-caught primates in research was effectively banned in 1995, yet the BUAV investigation has revealed that researchers from Newcastle University are bypassing UK law and using public funds to go to Kenya to use wild-caught baboons in highly invasive experiments.

The BUAV is calling on the Kenyan government to take a stand and dissociate itself from the cruelties of the wild-caught trade by introducing a ban on the capture and use of wild primates for research. It is also urging the UK government to close the loophole that allows UK researchers to bypass UK law and carry out experiments on wild-caught primates overseas and for Newcastle University to stop supporting such cruelty and ban its researchers from using public funding to travel to Kenya to experiment on baboons.

Long term supporter of the BUAV, Ricky Gervais, spoke out upon hearing about the investigation: ‘The findings from the BUAV investigation into the use of wild-caught baboons for research in Kenya is very distressing. Their film shows just how much the animals suffer after being trapped in the wild and held captive in terrible conditions, some for years on end. The UK doesn’t allow experimentation on wild-caught primates and I hope that the findings of this investigation will make a real difference to stopping the practice in Kenya and other countries. I urge people to support the BUAV campaign by signing the petition bit.ly/WildBaboons’

Ricky was also joined by Joanna Lumley and Chris Packham who both spoke out against the suffering inflicted on these wild animals:

Joanna Lumley said:It is hard to comprehend how frightening and confusing it must be for any wild animal to find itself suddenly seized and held captive in a small barren cage. The film from the BUAV’s investigation is truly upsetting and I hope it results in a positive change for animals with a ban on the use of wild-caught primates for research.’

Chris Packham said:Keeping baboons in these terrible conditions when they are used to living freely on the plains of Africa is desperately cruel. You can see from the images how barren and restrictive their cages are compared to the open spaces in their natural habitat. Using wild-caught primates in research has been banned in the UK and I think it is unacceptable that UK researchers should travel to Kenya to carry out such experiments. I fully support the BUAV campaign to stop this.’

Other high-profile spokespeople to have expressed support for the BUAV campaign include Wildlife Presenters Simon King and Mark Carwardine, Environmentalist Sir Jonathon Porritt, Actor Peter Egan and Presenter Wendy Turner Webster.

Simon King said: ‘It is hard to imagine the suffering and fear that wild animals must experience when torn from their natural habitat and held captive to be used for experimentation. The BUAV investigation into a primate research facility in Kenya reveals the terrible conditions that wild-caught baboons are forced to live in –conditions which I find absolutely unacceptable. The UK banned the use of wild-caught primates in research 18 years ago and I fully support the BUAV campaign to end this cruel trade.’

Mark Carwardine said: ‘I was shocked to hear about the BUAV investigation into the use of wild-caught baboons for research in Kenya. This distressing practice was banned in the UK in 1995 - quite rightly - so it's completely wrong for British researchers to travel to Kenya to do the research there. Please support the BUAV petition to Newcastle University, urging an end to their disturbing experiments. Thank you. http://bit.ly/NUbaboons

Sir Jonathon Porritt said: The latest investigation from BUAV makes for hard viewing – it’s horrendous to think that this kind of abuse is still going on in the name of ‘scientific development’.’

Wendy Turner Webster said: ‘Scientific advancements do not need to rely on the cruel practice of tearing animals from the wild and forcing them to endure sickening experiments. The UK government banned research on wild-caught primates in 1995 and for good reason. Baboons belong in the wild, not confined in small cages to be subjected to shocking mutilation. Please join me in supporting the BUAV. We must take action today and ask for the Kenyan government to bring these experiments to an end. http://bit.ly/WildBaboons

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