SAN ANTONIO – One of the world's most popular animal rights groups responded to the Saturday escape of four baboons from the Texas Biomedical Research Institute's Southwest National Primate Research Center, pointing to past violations and primate deaths at the facility.
Several documents provided by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals show issues discovered during inspections of the facility by inspectors with the U.S.Department of Agriculture.
From 2010 to present, the USDA has required the Texas Biomedical Research Institute to make changes to various aspects of the facility's infrastructure and care for the animals. The facility was also required to pay a fine after it was found in violation of the Animal Welfare Act in 2011.
Click the violation to read the inspection report:
- In 2014, the USDA required the facility to assess the primates' health and well being daily after a male baboon died from Sepsis from trauma wounds and a female primate suffered a tail degloving injury, among other injuries. The report states the male baboon was emaciated and had multiple scabs from bite wounds and sores on his leg and ankle at the time of his death.
Officials with the SNPRC confirmed it had been fined and had received notice of the aforementioned violations.
SNPRC staff members explained Monday how the four baboons were able to escape the facility on Saturday.
According to a press release, the baboons are housed in an open-air enclosure that is surrounded by perimeter walls that are angled inward. The baboons rolled a 55-gallon barrel to an upright position and used it to climb out of the housing structure.