A baboon that was on his way to a vasectomy when he and his two female companions escaped a Sydney hospital has had the big snip – and a mention in the Senate.
The 15-year-old male baboon and his two female “troops” escaped on Tuesday night after a lock failed on the truck or crate transporting them at a Royal Prince Alfred Hospital research facility in Camperdown.
The trio then caused widespread concern among passers-by as they ran a car park on RPA hospital grounds until Taroonga Zoo staff and police could capture and sedate them.
It was later revealed the three primates had come from the Sydney Local Health District facility in Wallacia, about 50 kilometres away from the RPA Hospital.
They are part of a colony bred by the lab for “important biomedical research” into diabetes, kidney disease and complications arising from pregnancy.
The baboons’ plight drew attention in Canberra on Thursday, with the Senate approving a motion supporting a call for the federal government to invest in research methods that did not need animals.
“The baboons motion passed,” Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi tweeted.
“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.”
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard had said earlier the male baboon was being transported to the hospital on Tuesday for a vasectomy. His two female companions had accompanied him for support.
On Thursday, Mr Hazzard confirmed the vasectomy had gone ahead.
“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,” he said in a tweet.
Mr Hazzard has rubbished claims the animals were being used for research into human-baboon hybrid organs to address the transplant crisis.