OU continues to accept funds for breeding baboons
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Contact the USDA to Demand another Federal Fine against OU

Dr. Robert Gibbens Director, Western Region, USDA
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SAMPLE MESSAGE: Thank you for levying a $19,143 fine against the University of Oklahoma. However, serious federal violations at this facility have continued including a recent baboon death caused by negligence. So, please LEVY another Fine against Univ. of Oklahoma for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) which has now killed a baboon, a dog and 5 guinea pigs. This repeat offender's behavior must NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.


OU continues to accept funds for breeding baboons
By Joy Hampton, NormanTranscript.com, May 16, 2016

University of Oklahoma President David Boren said in September OU’s baboon program would be discontinued within three years, but records indicate OU researchers are still receiving funding to breed animals.

National Institutes of Health records show principal investigator Dr. Roman Wolf received $768,050 in January 2016 for the OU Health Sciences Baboon Research Resource with the goal of developing “an active, self-supporting breeding colony of baboons that are free of all five known baboon herpes viruses, four retroviruses, as well as a number of additional viruses and parasites.”

The program supports “biomedical and behavioral research requiring the baboon as the animal model.”

Wolf’s specialized pathogen free breeding program is separate from the broader breeding program that has also received funding for OUHSC to maintain the baboon colony at El Reno. As principal investigator in the pathogen free breeding program, Wolf has received $3,067,143 over the course of four years, starting in 2013.

OU’s Baboon Research Resource houses two baboon colonies, one of which is the Specific Pathogen Free colony. Under OU’s baboon program, NIH-funded investigators can purchase baboons for research or subcontract to conduct the study on location at OUHSC.

Dr. Gary L. White last received $1,260,949 in NIH funding for breeding baboons for the Baboon Research Resource Program in 2015. As principal investigator, White has received $19,963,282 through 20 grants starting in 1998.

According to NIH the P40 program is designed to make animals available “to all qualified investigators without regard to the scientific disciplines or disease orientations of their research activities...”

Boren’s announcement that the baboon program would be discontinued came on the heels of public criticism for animal deaths and troubling findings by U.S. Department of Agriculture animal welfare investigators.

SAEN has continued to monitor reports on the OUHSC research center and the baboon colony at El Reno since first uncovering reports by the USDA animal welfare division indicating inappropriate care of the OU baboons. An OU baboon died in January, and a routine inspection by the USDA revealed two baboons had been in an enclosure that had not been cleaned in six weeks, according to official reports uncovered by watchdog organization Stop Animal Exploitation Now! in February.

“It is clear that the animal research program at the University of Oklahoma has a long-term history of major animal welfare act violations dating back for several years, and that despite previous citations for these non-compliances, this facility has failed miserably to maintain any semblance of compliance with the Animal Welfare Act,” Michael A. Budkie, SAEN executive director wrote in a letter of complaint to the USDA. “Therefore, I am hereby filing an Official Complaint against the University of Oklahoma (73-R-0007). I insist that your office investigate these other deaths immediately and at the conclusion of your investigation you institute the largest fine allowable by law, or $10,000 per infraction/per animal.”

That inspection report indicates staff said they had inadequate training on dealing with the baboons, but the problem was corrected later on the same day as the inspection.

According to the USDA inspection reports on Feb. 23, there are still 349 baboons at the OU Research Building and 363 baboons at Fort El Reno. 

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