OU researchers plan to close baboon program

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Officials with the University of Oklahoma have announced big changes coming to its Baboon Program.

In the past, the University of Oklahoma has been accused of abusing baboons in its research program.

According to the inspection report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture from late January, three baboons were found drenched in one enclosure, with one left ‘shivering and distressed.’

A second enclosure was reportedly filled with baby baboons, had a build up of ‘grime, debris’ and excrement on the walls and bars.

On Tuesday, OU President David L. Boren announced that the OU Health Sciences Center would wind down operations over the next three to four years, ultimately ending the Baboon Program.

“The OU Health Sciences Center is working closely with the NIH, researchers and other stakeholders on a transition plan that will honor its existing contractual obligations to ensure that current biomedical research projects are completed with the least possible disruption,” said James Tomasek, vice president for research at OUHSC.

School leaders say the program has not been a top priority in the center’s strategic research plan and they decided to close the program based on how much time and energy would be spent on it.

“The University is committed to treating baboons humanely and with a high level of care throughout the transition to ensure that baboons will not be adversely affected by these changes,” a statement from the university said.

Late Tuesday a group against the Baboon program announced it would be in contact with the University over this recent decision. |

“We are thrilled that President Boren and the University of Oklahoma are doing the right thing and closing down the baboon program,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN. “SAEN will be contacting President Boren within 24 hours to begin discussions about the future of the baboons at the University of Oklahoma.”

 

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