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2 June 1999 Issue

News Out Of Africa

South African baboons, long since denoted as “problem animals” because of
damage they do to farmers’ crops, are to be slaughtered for food and sex
stimulants. The building of a multimillion rand baboon abattoir [was] scheduled
to begin on Monday, May 24, outside Warmbaths, in the Northern Province,
and is expected to be complete within five months.

News of the proposed abattoir was broken in the Afrikaans language newspaper
Volksblad today (19 May). According to the newspaper, Mr. Ollie Wehmeyer,
chairman of the Warmbaths Development Initiative and spokesperson for the
businessmen behind the scheme, said the abattoir would relieve the pressure
on endangered Central African gorilla and chimpanzee populations which are
being butchered for bush meat and sex potions. It is proposed, he said, that
tinned baboon meat would be exported to Central Africa and Eastern Europe
while the teeth, nails and hands would go to Asia where they can be used as
sex stimulants.

He said it was envisaged that 10 – 15 baboons at a time would be caught in
large traps. They would then be taken alive to the abattoir where they will be
shocked to death before having their throats slit. Although the news has been
met with disbelief by many, Mr. Thembi Makuveli, spokesperson for the
Department of Agriculture and Nature Conservation in Northern Province,
confirmed yesterday that he was aware of the project.

There is no census as to how many baboons are left in South Africa. Still
classified as “vermin” or “problem animals” they are shot with impunity by
farmers. Many believe that South African baboons are endangered. Although
there is no official count, there is no doubt that hundreds are being used in
medical research laboratories throughout South Africa. Some have been
incarcerated in tiny cages for more than six years. They are also exported
to foreign research laboratories.

Louise van der Merwe, Editor
Compassion Incorporating Animal Voice
Official Mouthpiece of Beauty Without Cruelty in South Africa
Tel. & Fax +27 21 852 4402
e-mail: avoice@global.co.za
http://www.animals.co.za/orgs/bwc/compassion/

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