Legislation in Kenya relating to animal experiments is outdated and hopelessly inadequate. Wild baboons are captured and held at the Institute of Primate Research in Nairobi under conditions which seriously compromise their welfare and breach international guidelines, before being 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 a 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.
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.”
Ricky was also joined by Joanna Lumley and Chris Packham who both spoke out against the suffering inflicted on these wild animals.
Joanna 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.”
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.