The Los Angeles-based animal rights group Lady Freethinker has submitted a petition with 40,000 signatures to the Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS ) Board of Visitors demanding the school stop using baboons for experiments on exposure to microplastics

The EVMS research involved experimenting on 156 pregnant baboons over three years and tried to look at complications in pregnancy associated with oestrogen deficiency and exposure to microplastics. Pregnant baboons were given varying combinations of oestrogen and an oestrogen inhibitor and their foetuses were delivered via caesarean section at different stages of pregnancy. Unfortunately, primates are still used in medical research all over the world, despite alternative methods are already available. 

Nina Jackel, president of Lady Freethinker, said, “Not only is this tremendously cruel, but it’s also useless and unproductive… Students at EVMS could be conducting research that will actually help humans, but instead, more time and money are wasted, and more animals are needlessly killed in useless experiments that don’t benefit anyone.”  Emily Raap, a campaign manager for Lady Freethinker, said the research has not yet resulted in a clinical application for humans, “meaning mothers who need effective treatments have been waiting for decades without an end in sight.”

Lady Freethinker volunteers attended the Board of Visitors meeting on 20th September 2022 to deliver a box full of signatures. The volunteers stood behind the rows of chairs holding a large sign reading “shut down the baboon lab now!” and didn’t have a chance to deliver the box to Rector Bruce D. Waldholtz personally, as they planned, before the board chair decided to go into closed session.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.