About the facts: Chimps and Baboons in the human research

2015.04.12 15:06

The Southwest National Primate Research Center (or Texas Biomedical Research Institute) is the largest research center in the US and the world. Their mission to improve the health of our global community through innovative biomedical research with nonhuman primates.

The world’s largest captive baboon population live in this Research Center (ca. 2.000 especially Anubis-, plus little number Hamadryas ar Sacred-, Yellow- and Guinea Baboons), the world’s largest and best-characterized pedigreed primate population, the world’s largest group of geneticists committed to research with and management of captive nonhuman primates, one of the largest nonhuman primate censuses of any NPRC, the largest Chimpanzee (more than 160 individuals) census of any NPRC, the capacity for nonhuman primate studies in Biocontainment Level 4, and a veterinary technical staff experienced in the management and use of nonhuman primates ranging from Chimpanzees to Marmosets.


Baboons at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Source: TBRI)


So, about the basic knowledge and facts:

  • Common Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes): Chimpanzees have been used as models for infectious disease research, and were critical to the development of vaccines for Hepatitis A and B. Currently, their most extensive use is in developing and testing vaccines and drugs for Hepatitis C. True, the Southwest National Primate Research Center provides their animals with enrichment programs to enhance the Chimps' daily lives at the Center and the Institute works to provide comprehensive physical, emotional and psychological care for the primates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIwG8KOU3f8 (Is it enough? I believe, no, especially, because the Texas Biomedical Research Center YouTube account is empty, they have only this one video in their own site: https://www.txbiomed.org/primate-research-center/primates/chimpanzees

  • Baboons (Papio hamadryas Anubis, Papio hamadryas hamadryas – in correct mode: Papio Hamadryas only, Red Baboons – in correct mode: Guinea Baboon: Papio hamadryas papio, Papio hamadryas cynocephalus: Yellow Baboon). On the Institute's site is 3 different data about number of the Baboons: 1.200, 1.600 and more than 2.000 individuals. What is the correct number? Do they know? The SNPRC uses the baboons to same research than macaques e.g. genetics, successfully to localize QTLs influencing variation in risk factors for common diseases of complex etiology in humans – e.g. cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.

  • Macaques (Macaca mulatta): SNPRC sustains two colonies of rhesus macaques. One is a Specific-Pathogen-Free (SPF) rhesus monkey breeding colony which produces monkeys for AIDS-related research. The macaques live in indoor or outdoor enclosures in social groups of 2-10 individuals. The cages have multiple perches and swings so that the monkeys can climb and jump above the ground, as they are a more arboreal (or above ground) dwelling species than baboons or chimpanzees.

  • Marmosets and Tamarins (Callithix jacchus). Do not know number of individuals and field of the research.

Baboons, SPF Indian-origin rhesus macaques, and marmosets are often available from their breeding colonies to sell to outside investigators who want to conduct research with them at the SNPRC. Most of the rhesus macaques are produced under support of an NIH grant aimed at providing these animals for AIDS-related (or HIV) research, although other research uses of this species also are possible. Baboons are generally available for sale and removal to other research facilities, and rhesus macaques and marmosets are occasionally available for sale.


Rhesus Macaque at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Source: TBRI)


The Research Center has some serious documents about enrichment items and husbandry: https://www.txbiomed.org/primate-research-center/primates/enrichment and if they really keep putting these or minimal the half (50%), that gives reason to confidence.

I week ago I write an email (contact form: https://www.txbiomed.org/contact does not operate the best, you need send your male more time, that will be successful) and I wanted to ask from the Research Center, will they provided and care for their infected creatures (human and non-human primates also) in the future too, when they do not necessary to their research yet?! - but of course, I did not get any answer.

I had taken this very important question for the Institute, because the infected and ex-lab animals make great problem for the research centers (especially in the U.S.) and Government, because they need put these Creatures, if they will be “pensioner”, not adequate for “science” and research. The State (U.S.) does not give enough financial aid to this question, the rich profit-maker chemical- and research laboratories also do not handle this problem, however these animals serve humans (especially to those persons that have such disease/illness to that the Institute searches vaccine or pills).

Lot of Sanctuary operating at U.S. (e.g. Save The Chimps!, Chimp Haven, Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, HSUS, Primate Rescue Center), 1-2 are in Canada (Fauna Foundation) and EU (AAP in Holland, Affen Refugium, Gänserndorf in Austria) too, but these are not enough...

Unfortunately, more research center operating non-human mode too, you can see more video about this by HSUS: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdFzLvGttlTNLAEKWU_1wAQ and The BUAV: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2HCdDvOVD-YTnsLL7D7nJA


I believe the future for these Chimps, Marmosets, Tamarins, Macaques and Baboons are also so important (question and facts) than the actual or future financial profit for the founder and investors of medical research centers, their management, staff etc... (and maybe some adequate and success vaccine for the humans)...

As I see, unfortunately the ex-lab animals are valueless for the Research Institutes in the future (lot of time in the present too).