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Research centre accused of mistreating baboons

An international organization that fights for animal rights has accused Nairobi based Institute of Primate Research of cruel capture and captivity of wild baboons for research.

In a petition send to President Uhuru Kenyatta, The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) urged the president to end the use of wild baboons for research in Kenya.

BUAV has uploaded a YouTube video that exposed how the baboons were snatched from the wild and crammed into small cages and shipped for many hours on the back of pick – up trucks to the Institute of Primate Research (IPR).

The Baboons are subjected to disturbing research where by highly invasive that causes immense suffering and even fatal at the IPR.

According to BUAV, the Kenyan Legislation relating to animal experiments is outdated and hopelessly inadequate.

However, researchers from overseas, including the UK, USA and Belgium travel to Kenya to use these facilities to conduct experiments on wild caught baboons.

BUAV cited an example of researchers from the University of Newcastle 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 while the skull was drilled open and parts of the brain removed.

The animals were kept alive under anesthetic for many hours as test were carried out before being killed.

In the BUAV petition, the organization urges the President to take a stand and dissociate from the cruelties of the wild caught trade by introducing a ban on the capture and use of wild caught primates for research.

“We, the undersigned, are shocked by the capture and captivity of wild baboons and other primates for research at IPR in Kenya. The evidence of this cruelty was brought to light by an investigation by BUAV.”

It continues, “We urge 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-caught primates for research.”

BUAV has further recommended that action be taken against IPR for breaching international animal welfare standards.

Dr. Charles Musyoki, Assistant Director of Species Research at Kenya Wildlife Service, speaking with Nairobi News on phone, said that they were not aware of the situation and requested time before commenting on the matter.

“We are not aware of the information but I will look at it before reverting,” said Dr. Musyoka.

But in a statement in response to the accusation, IPR said that BUAV did not contact the management of IPR or the National Museums of Kenya before carrying out the investigation.

“We wish to state categorically that BUAV did not contact the management of IPR or our parent organization, the National Museums of Kenya before, during or after carrying out it’s so called ‘investigation’.

“None of our staff was officially aware of their ‘investigation’; they did not contact us to provide any clarifications before releasing their reports.’’

The IPR and NMK management therefore unfamiliar with BUAV objectives, investigational methods or goals and concludes that the entire exercise was meant to besmirch its reputation.