Ahead of the Board of Visitors Meeting at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), non-profit animal protection group Lady Freethinker (LFT) has sent a plush baboon named Jemma to school president Alfred Abuhamad along with a letter urging him to help secure an end to experiments on baboon Jemma at the school and facilitate her release to a reputable primate sanctuary.
The letter explains how Jemma, also known as #26876, has endured especially horrific abuse in experiments at EVMS, including having her babies cut out of her at least three times between 2019 and 2021 — in direct violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
Jemma has a long history of self-harming too, which is associated with psychological stress in primates. Animal health monitoring notes, obtained by Lady Freethinker through a public records request, state that she has hair loss from over-grooming and pulling out her own hair and a broken tooth with an exposed nerve from biting on the cage bars. She has also self-injured her fingers, including ripping off her own fingernail and rubbing off the first layer of skin on her shoulder. Most of her fingers have been amputated following injury or self-mutilation.
Not only are these experiments horrifically cruel, they’re also useless and unproductive. After over 40 years of research, EVMS has not yielded any reliable treatments to actually help humans from these experiments.
“Jemma and all the baboons suffering at EVMS deserve better,” said Nina Jackel, president of Lady Freethinker. “We’re urging school officials to shut down the hideous baboon lab and retire Jemma to a reputable sanctuary where she can finally live as a baboon should.”
Lady Freethinker also has launched a petition urging authorities to immediately secure an end to the experiments on Jemma and to facilitate her release to a reputable primate sanctuary.