Medicine

Baboons Use Barrel To Escape Texas Research Facility In 'Unique Incident'

Baboons Use Barrel To Escape Texas Research Facility In 'Unique Incident'

A troop of baboons managed to escape from a biomedical research facility in Texas by propping up barrels and leaping over the fence of their enclosure, prompting a roadway chase.

However, in the aftermath of the escape news, animal rights group Peta has released documents which it says undermine the facility's claims that its animals are "treated with reverence". "I mean, they're really key to those advances in biomedical research". A fourth was believed to have been on the loose but a head count determined it returned to the enclosure immediately.

The animal capture team, per protocol, was wearing personal protective equipment for the safety of the animals, as they are susceptible to human illnesses.

The lab said that the animals were accounted for and were checked by veterinary staff members to make sure they were safe and doing well.

The four primates, part of more than 2,500 housed at Texas Biomed, were not being used in an active study or infection disease research when they escaped, officials said. However, the team has removed them from use for further assessment and modification, as the barrel was close enough to the wall that the animals had an opportunity to climb on one and get out of the housing structure.

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None of the baboons were hurt during the escape, according to the station.

Researchers said in a statement that the baboons were given the barrels as an "enrichment tool" that would help them mimic foraging as they would in the wild.

"This was truly a unique incident", Lisa Cruz, assistant vice-president for communications, said. "We have been caring for research baboons for more than 50 years. We have almost 1100 baboons on the property that date back eight generations", Cruz said.

"This is heartbreaking. Four baboons worked together to roll a 55 gallon barrel and escape the research facility where they were subject to horrifying medical experiments", surgeon and healthcare columnist Eugene Gu wrote on Twitter.

Baboons at the research institute have aided in the development of numerous drugs, therapies and vaccines for conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis, KSAT said.


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