Baboons Endure Frostbite, Amputations at Texas Biomed; PETA Calls For Federal Probe

For Immediate Release:
August 4, 2021

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

San Antonio – After uncovering federal reports documenting that the fingers, toes, or tails of 159 baboons had to be amputated because the Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomedical Research Institute failed to protect them during February’s winter storm, PETA is demanding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigate. The federal Animal Welfare Act requires laboratories to provide adequate shelter that protects animals from weather extremes—yet records show that an estimated 15% of Texas Biomed’s baboon colony sustained frostbite, resulting in amputations.

As highly tactile primates, “one of the few pleasures for those of them confined at [Texas Biomed] is exercising their ability to pluck blades of grass, manipulate food items, and engage in grooming,” PETA writes in its letter to the USDA.

“Leaving baboons to freeze during a catastrophic, record-breaking storm constitutes neglect and cruelty,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “PETA urges federal agents to investigate and prosecute this federally funded disaster.”

In previous years, the USDA has fined Texas Biomed for repeatedly allowing primates to escape from their cages and injure themselves and others, including humans. In 2020, the facility confined more than 2,700 primates. Subjected to painful procedures and invasive surgeries, some of these monkeys are intentionally denied pain relief.

According to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, a majority of Americans oppose all experiments on animals. Other surveys suggest that the shrinking group that does accept animal experimentation does so only because it believes it to be necessary for medical progress. However, studies show that a staggering 90% of basic research, most of which involves animals and the type of work carried out at Texas Biomed, fails to lead to treatments for humans.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram or click here.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind