By John Muchangi
A Kenyan research institution that uses captured baboons has rejected allegations that the animals are being mistreated.
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection has sensationally claimed that Institute of Primate Research has "imprisoned" the wild baboons in tiny cages for tests that are "highly invasive, cause immense suffering and are even fatal."
IPR, Kenya's biggest primate research centre, said the accusations by the British NGO are "patronising and insulting."
Its Karen facility holds about 13 baboons for research on malaria, in-vitro fertilisation, and intra-uterine contraceptive devices.
The animal rights group claimed that the female baboons have been used to study endometriosis which causes painful periods in women. They allegedly had their cervix stitched shut while others had parts of it removed for analysis.
They also claimed that Belgian researchers forced baboons to chew Miraa to test its effects on male fertility.
"Once a week blood samples were taken under sedation and electrodes inserted into their rectums to force ejaculation," claimed the report entitledCaptive cruelty.
IPR director Dr Thomas Kariuki dismissed the claims saying the scientists follow ethical scientific protocols.
The institute collaborates with foreign scientists vetted by public bodies including the National Commission for Science and Technology.
Dr Kariuki said it is well-established scientific practice to use animals to study human diseases and test medical products before using them on people.
"How can it be wrong to use 20 wild-caught animals to test a malaria vaccine that potentially could save the lives of 600,000 children that die of malaria in Africa every year," he asked. More....