Runaway baboon gets the snip
A MALE baboon that was on his way to a vasectomy when he and his two female companions escaped a Sydney hospital has undergone the big snip.
The 15-year-old male baboon and his two female "troops" on Tuesday evening escaped after a lock failed on the truck or crate transporting them at a Royal Prince Alfred Hospital research facility in Camperdown.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the male primate was due for a vasectomy, while his two female companions were there for support.
The trio was seen running around a car park on RPA hospital grounds.
The baboons were contained by police and medical experts before handlers from Taronga Zoo tranquillised them.
Mr Hazzard on Wednesday said the primates were doing well and resting after a "big day out", and the male's vasectomy had been delayed until Thursday.
Baboon Snippet update: Male baboon's vasectomy delayed from today 4 one day. All 3 well & resting. Breakfasted on bananas, capsicum, apple & bread after big day out. The tripping trio will rejoin their family (4 other females) post op. tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/BPFadX4QpH— Brad Hazzard (@BradHazzard) February 26, 2020
The health minister on Thursday confirmed the vasectomy had been performed.
"Baboon 'Houdini' update: vasectomy has been completed this morning as planned. Procedure went well. He is now sleeping/resting. His two female family members are relaxed and happy," Mr Hazzard said in a tweet.
Baboon “Houdini”update: vasectomy has been completed this morning as planned. Procedure went well. He is now sleeping /resting. His two female family members are relaxed and happy.— Brad Hazzard (@BradHazzard) February 26, 2020
The incident has reignited concerns over animals used in experimentation.
The baboons, which are involved in research on reproductive health, kidney disease and gestational diabetes, will be returned to their western Sydney colony after the male recovers.
Mr Hazzard has rubbished claims the animals were being used for research into human-baboon hybrid organs to address the transplant crisis.
On Wednesday, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said his heart was with the baboons. "They operated as a modern relationship and I'm fine with that," he told reporters in Canberra.
We need better recognition that animal testing causes harm and suffering to animals. I'll keep working to ensure national transparency and accountability in the use of animals in research #AnimalWelfare— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) February 27, 2020
Greens animal welfare spokeswoman Mehreen Faruqi on Thursday moved a motion in federal parliament noting the primates' "bid for freedom".
Senator Faruqi says the episode highlights the community's concern for animals used in experimentation and research.
She's calling on the government to end the use of animals for research through investing in other methods and technology.
Ms Faruqi announced this afternoon that the motion had passed.
"The Senate has voted to wish the Sydney baboons well and called on the Government to invest in the methods and technology needed to end the use of animals for research purposes," she said on Twitter.
"We need better recognition that animal testing causes harm and suffering to animals. I'll keep working to ensure national transparency and accountability in the use of animals in research."