Written by PETA
Two hundred and some chimpanzees—previously used in
experiments and kept in tiny cells, alone, isolated, and with nothing but a
cement slab to sleep on and nothing to see or do, but who have been undergoing
rehabilitation and socialization with each other—have been spared from their
imminent transfer back into NIH laboratories. These chimpanzees, whom PETA
president Ingrid E. Newkirk wrote
about on The Huffington Post in 2010, had been about to be shipped out, but
the National Institutes of Health has just announced—no doubt because of New
Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's protests and those of many members of
Congress and groups like PETA—that the chimpanzees will not be moved, at least
until a study has been conducted, which will take two years.
Fourteen of the chimpanzees were not that lucky and have
already been shipped out. Please join us in asking that they not be used
and that all the chimpanzees be allowed to go to a sanctuary early in 2011.
Meanwhile, pop a cork for our friends at Alamogordo, who have just scraped by under
the wire! Thanks to all of you who wrote and called and helped to make
this a happier New Year's Eve for these animals.
After learning from PETA that great apes used in commercials are torn from their mothers when they are just babies and beaten into submission, pharmaceutical company Pfizer has replaced a new TV ad for Robitussin that originally featured an orangutan with a new ad that includes a computer-generated ape.
Grey Group created the old commercial just before signing PETA's Great Ape Humane Pledge, agreeing to never again use great apes in ads. It joins many other top ad agencies including BBDO, Young & Rubicam, and Ogilvy & Mather. Pfizer has also pledged not to use primates in future commercials.
Share Anjelica Huston's moving and thought-provoking video with family and friends and spread the word about what the entertainment industry does to our closest primate cousins.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
We know that chimpanzees have keen intelligence and advanced cognitive skills, so it's no surprise that scientists observing wild chimpanzees in Guinea watched them deliberately set off snare traps designed to catch and kill them (and any other passing animal)—while avoiding harming themselves. The researchers believe that this lifesaving skill has been passed down from one generation to the next.
Just like us, non-human animals of all species want to live in freedom, avoid pain, and seek out comfort. Like us, more than anything, they want to live.
But life skills and ingenuity can't save animals who are deliberately bred for laboratory experiments. Please help us stop a plan to breed monkeys for vivisection in Puerto Rico.
True Blood's Kristin Bauer and veteran actor Gene Hackman have joined PETA, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Animal Protection of New Mexico, and other animal rights groups in speaking out against the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) plan to transfer more than 200 "retired" chimpanzees from New Mexico to Texas—where they will likely be used in invasive experiments. Some of the animals are 60 years old and are refugees from the space program. Others were used in seatbelt crash tests decades ago.
"We now know that [chimpanzees] use tools, grieve for their dead, and are capable of complex communication with humans," says Kristin. "These wonderful animals deserve so much better."
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is also fighting for these apes: After writing to NIH's director, he met with NIH officials today to urge them to scrap this callous plan.
These chimpanzees need your help! Please take a moment today to ask officials to permanently retire the chimpanzees to a reputable sanctuary.
Written by Paula Moore
Update: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has written to National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins urging him to scrap plans to transfer more than 200 "retired" chimpanzees from the Alamogordo Primate Facility in New Mexico to the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research laboratory in Texas. He has also requested the return of 15 chimpanzees who have already been transferred.
"New Mexico wants to save these chimpanzees, who have already given so much of their lives to the American public as part of medical research studies," says the governor. "There is a compassionate and prudent alternative to the National Center for Research Resources' plan, and I feel strongly that we must save the chimpanzees."
Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico is also working hard to ensure that the chimpanzees are spared from further experiments. Stay tuned for more updates.
The folks at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) must have had their fingers crossed behind their backs when they "retired" 288 chimpanzees—who had previously been used in Air Force gravity experiments—to the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) in New Mexico. I say this because NIH has now decided to "unretire" the surviving chimpanzees (more than 21 have died in the decade they've spent warehoused in cages at APF, including three who died by electrocution because of unsafe conditions). The animals will be sent to the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR) laboratory in Texas, where they will likely be subjected to cruel experiments.
SFBR might sound familiar to readers of this blog because it is the same laboratory where two baboons escaped from cages in May and attacked two employees. PETA filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which then cited SFBR for failure to handle animals in a manner that does not cause trauma or physical harm as well as failure to provide animals with adequate and safe housing. SFBR had previously been cited twice—in 2009 and in February of this year—for failure to house animals in structurally sound enclosures in order to prevent them from escaping and injuring themselves and others. In one incident, a monkey escaped from a cage, got outside into the freezing cold, suffered from hypothermia, and later was euthanized as a result.
SFBR's "punishment" for these offenses? It gets more than 200 chimpanzees to confine, scare, poke, and prod.
Half of the chimpanzees at APF have been living in cages for at least a quarter of a century. As PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo wrote today in a letter to NIH, it's time to truly retire these primates to a sanctuary, rather than sending them back to a laboratory where they are sure to endure tremendous physical and psychological trauma, possibly for the rest of their lives—which could last another quarter century or more.
Please take a minute to send your own letter to APF and let it know that "retirement" means living the rest of your life free from stress (and not confined to a cage).
Written by Alisa Mullins
There's a lot of buzz about two new studies that reveal that chimpanzees mourn the deaths of loved ones pretty much as humans do. Scientists in Scotland found chimpanzees tending to an ailing elder during her final days—and after she died, her daughter spent the night next to her body. In the days that followed, the mood was somber among the deceased chimpanzee's friends and family. In the second study, scientists in Guinea observed two mothers who couldn't bear to part with their dead babies.
The buzz from the chimpanzee studies is getting a boost from a viral video in which a squirrel defends his deceased friend's body against a group of crows. Both news items have people describing how they've witnessed animals in mourning, and they have made people realize that humans aren't the only animals who grieve following the loss of a loved one. Of course, this behavior isn't limited to squirrels and chimpanzees. Elephants have been known to hold vigils over their stillborn children. And cows on dairy farms and their calves cry out for days when they are separated.
One of my most indelible childhood memories is of watching our sweet mutt, Ching, as he uncharacteristically snarled and snapped at anyone who tried to come near the lifeless body of his constant companion, Jessa. He stayed with her for hours. What about you? Have you ever seen an animal grieve the loss of a friend or family member?
Written by Karin Bennett
Dancing With the Stars has hosted a virtual cornucopia of PETA supporters, from contestants Joanna Krupa and Steve-O to dancing pro Karina Smirnoff and judge Carrie Ann Inaba. So we were bummed to learn that DWTS planned to use a chimpanzee as a "guest judge" on last night's episode.
Yesterday morning, several organizations, including PETA, Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, and International Primate Protection League, contacted the show's executive producer, Conrad Green, to try to convince him not to air the segment. In our letter, we alerted Green to the fact that workers tear captive baby chimpanzees away from their mothers and beat them in order to force them to perform. We also sent along our moving video about great apes in entertainment, which is narrated by Anjelica Huston.
Anjelica must have worked her magic, because the kind Mr. Green got back to us right away to let us know that the segment featuring the chimpanzee would be cut and that he would never use great apes in the future. Good to his word, no chimpanzee put in an appearance on last night's show, according to the crazed avid DWTS fans on our staff.
This just goes to show that if you speak up, good people like Conrad Green are quick to do the right thing.
If you've already caught any of this summer's movie blockbusters, you may have seen Sprint's "turn off your cell phone" reminder, which features a live chimpanzee.
Witnessing animal abuse during the previews definitely ruins a movie before it starts, but—thanks to those who participated in our action alert and all of you who tweeted at Sprint—we're thrilled to announce that the company has decided to stop circulating the ads as of July 3 and has pledged never to feature great apes in future ad campaigns. Yay! Check out Sprint's full statement on its Web site.
Chimpanzees and other great apes who are forced into the entertainment industry are ripped away from their mothers when they are only days old, are trained by being beaten, kicked, and punched, and are then discarded at filthy roadside zoos when they're no longer useful in show business. After learning about this abuse, progressive companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Gap Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., SEGA, Honda, PUMA, Yahoo!, Subaru, and now Sprint have been quick to step up and take a stand for animals. Castrol, are you listening?
Written by Liz Graffeo
No, you're not experiencing déjà vu. This is the second blog in two days in which we've reported that primates have taken aim at humans—literally. In the latest instance, a monkey in Thailand—fed up with performing the thankless task of climbing coconut trees to retrieve fruit for his owner to sell—apparently launched a coconut at the man's head, killing him instantly. Did we mention that payback is hell?
Like so many animals who are exploited for profit, the monkey, whose name is Brother Kwan, was frequently denied rest and beaten if he refused to climb.
This story comes on the heels of a report last week about a chimpanzee in a Swedish Zoo who collects stockpiles of rocks and then chucks them at zoo visitors.
How much more proof do we need that primates are intelligent animals with the ability to reason, get mad, and fight back? Better watch your back, Castrol.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
In case you needed any more evidence that chimpanzees don't want to be locked up in zoos, a chimpanzee named Santino in a Swedish zoo has been collecting hundreds of stones to throw at zoo visitors. On many mornings, Santino calmly gathers rocks into a pile, waits until the zoo opens, and then uses them to dispel the crowd of gawkers surrounding his enclosure.
Can you blame him? If I'd been snatched from my family and forced to live on public display, I'd probably start throwing things too. Santino has also been observed tapping on concrete boulders to find weak spots and breaking off loose chunks to add to his arsenal.
Researchers say that Santino is demonstrating the ability to plan and think about the future. We thought this was already obvious, but some people persist in the mistaken belief that animals act only on "instinct," while we humans always act with intelligence. Well, guess what? Chimpanzees are clearly intelligent, and yet they are still bred and raised to be shown off in zoos, circuses, and other forms of so-called "entertainment." What will it take for these animals to get the respect that they deserve?
Written by Lianne Turner
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.