Baboons Mistreated at Eastern Virginia Medical School?

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In a complaint filed last week with the Office of the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney in Virginia, PETA called for a criminal probe into the Eastern Virginia Medical School laboratory of Gerald Pepe after obtaining new information showing that experimenters in his lab had subjected mother baboons to traumatic procedures without providing them with adequate care, among other glaring issues.

Caged in extreme social and environmental deprivation, baboons at Eastern Virginia Medical School suffered from the following:

  • Broken teeth and root exposure due to biting on cage bars
  • Alopecia due to tearing out their own hair
  • Injuries to their fingers so severe they required amputation
  • Lacerations, bites, and gouges from other monkeys, including during breeding encounters
  • Psychological distress so profound that it caused them to exhibit repetitive motions

PETA’s complaint details evident misconduct involving six mother baboons.

One of them, Tara, was subjected to seven pregnancies—which resulted in four cesarean sections, two miscarriages or stillbirths, and one vaginal birth—in less than eight years at the school.

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Tara suffered for years with likely painful stained, chipped, and missing teeth due to biting cage bars in apparent anguish, but the school never addressed her suffering nor attempted to alleviate the stress caused by her confinement.

She was one of the baboons killed by experimenters in March 2024 after the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the school for subjecting pregnant mother baboons to repeated cesarean sections without required federal authorization.

Of the six mother baboons mentioned in PETA’s complaint, five were killed by the school.

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The sixth, Alissa, died immediately after undergoing her second cesarean section, which an experimenter performed even though she had lost almost one-third of her body weight over the preceding 16 months.

According to federal inspection documents, staff at the school failed to address Alissa’s chronic weight loss. The institution has a history of committing federal animal welfare violations—including at least eight since 2015, four of which were deemed “critical” (i.e., having a severe adverse effect on the health and well-being of an animal) and at least one of which was “repeat.”

These baboons were imprisoned in cages and knew only fear, pain, and the dread of what would be done to them next. At 18 years old, their bodies were like a 70-year-old woman’s, yet they were impregnated and subjected to repeated poking, prodding, and cutting.

On April 2, 2024, PETA requested records on all baboons housed at the medical school. When school staff responded to PETA on April 9, they stated that no baboons remained at its facility without mentioning that two baboons used in Pepe’s experiments, Raul and Joy, had been killed earlier that day.

PETA supporters protest Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS ) over its treatment of baboons in experiments

Here’s What You Can Do

Learn more about the pointless and cruel baboon pregnancy experiments at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and then pressure it to end them, close the laboratory, and fire Pepe immediately:

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