Michelle's Blog

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Wild baboons still suffer for senseless experiments

Last week we received the news in the UK that it is now illegal to possess, sell or import the herbal stimulant khat. While you may wonder what relation this has to animal experiments, the news was particularly poignant to us here at the BUAV as last year one of our undercover investigations revealed the terrible suffering of baboons for khat research.

Our Captive Cruelty investigation at the Institute of Primate Research (IPR) uncovered the collaboration of Belgian researchers testing khat on wild-caught baboons in Kenya. One experiment looked at the effect khat had on sperm production and male hormones. Twice weekly for a month, researchers sedated baboons and forced a ‘high dose’ blended khat preparation down their throat via a ‘feeding tube.’ Once a week the baboons were subjected to blood samples under sedation and electrodes inserted into their rectums to force ejaculation. 

Yet, there are to date, 386 human studies of the effects of khat, which are wide-ranging in their focus. This experiment merely replicated in baboons what is already known in humans and at a great price of suffering and fear.

Baboons are intelligent and social animals who use over 30 vocalisations ranging from grunts to barks to screams. They belong in the wild, free to enjoy their existence in family troops of up to 150, not imprisoned and alone inside laboratories.

I know that you, like us here, believe these actions and experiments are utterly unacceptable. No animal should be made to suffer in this way, so please call on the President of Kenya to stop the cruel capture and use of wild baboons for research.

Thank you for your support.

Until next time….