Baboons lose in their bid for freedom

As media stories circulate about three baboons escaped from a medical research facility in Sydney, concerns are raised about the horrific life these animals endure.

According to reports, the small troop of baboons escaped from a truck with a faulty door lock while being transported from a colony to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Camperdown.

Few people are aware that primates are used in research in Australia, yet 272 primates were used in invasive experiments in the year 2017 (latest available statistics). These include baboons, marmosets and macaques. Baboons are purpose-bred at a breeding facility in Wallacia, NSW. Marmosets and macaques are bred in Gippsland Victoria.

Humane Research Australia CEO, Helen Marston said: “While the industry is shrouded in secrecy, much of this research is funded by taxpayers through the National Health and Medical Research Council.”

“Despite assurance that primates are kept in world class facilities, Humane Research Australia has unveiled damning information about the unexpected deaths of primates in Australia – and now this!”

Over the past four years:

  • A female macaque was found in a barrel outside dead in a pool of blood.
  • A female macaque was found in her cage barely able to move. Staff attempted to recover her with fluids and warmth but she died about 1.5 hours later.
  • A female marmoset was found listless and bleeding from her bowel. After being treated and placed in a humidicrib she began gasping for breath and died.
  • A male marmoset was found listless with shallow breathing and vomiting clear foamy liquid. The vet was called for treatment but the marmoset died 30 minutes later.

Specifically, baboons have been used to test radioactive substances, and pregnancy hypertension (both at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital), subjected to preeclampsia experiments and had shoulder tendons cut to investigate the healing process – all in Australia and funded by taxpayers.

“Not only is this a cruel and unethical industry, it is a huge waste of precious resources – funding and time that would be better spent on research methods that are applicable to humans – not a pseudo-model of a human that is more likely to lead to erroneous data”

“Sadly, the three baboons captured will now face a lifetime of imprisonment, being subjected to invasive experiments.” Ms Marston concluded.


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