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Plea to Free Oldest Lab Chimpanzee

Written by PETA | October 3, 2011

Update: In 2015, following pressure from PETA and other animal advocates, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that all captive chimpanzees would now be reclassified as “endangered,” effectively ending invasive experiments on our closest living genetic relatives. In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) promised to retire all federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries. Sadly, since this announcement, few have been retired and many have died while waiting. Please urge NIH to retire these animals now!

Originally posted October 3, 2011:

In a true sign of the times, the editors at Scientific American, one of the most widely read scientific publications in the world, now agree with PETA that experiments on chimpanzees should be banned.

“That chimps and humans react to trauma in a like manner should not come as a surprise. Chimps are our closest living relatives and share a capacity for emotion, including fear, anxiety, grief and rage,” write the editors. “In our view, the time has come to end biomedical experimentation on chimpanzees.”

Hopefully, the editorial will sway members of Congress to support the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, which would end invasive testing on all great apes and allow more than 500 chimpanzees in labs to be released to sanctuaries. And we are certain that the editorial will make its way to the desks of the members of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) chimpanzee experimentation review committee, at whose hearing PETA testified this summer. The IOM is scheduled to release its much-anticipated report on the issue in December. A positive report could help propel passage of the federal bill.  

Such a ban would mean far better living conditions after more than five long decades for Wenka, at 57 the oldest living chimpanzee in a U.S. laboratory. She is one of more than 100 chimpanzees imprisoned at the Yerkes primate laboratory at Emory University in Atlanta and has spent almost her entire life in a laboratory—she was born in a laboratory cage, torn away from her mother, and locked away in a dark room for the first 17 months of her life. The only time that she has spent outside a laboratory was when she was briefly sold as a “pet” in the mid-1950s before quickly being returned to a laboratory.

This past weekend, members of Georgia Animal Rights and Protection, gathered outside Emory University to call for the release of Wenka to a sanctuary, where she can live out her last few years with some freedom and autonomy. So far, Yerkes is refusing, claiming that Wenka is needed for “aging” research. If officials wait much longer, we suppose they will say that she is needed for “death” research too.

Commenting is closed.
  • Georgios-Michael Androulakis says:

    Let them free!!!

  • Amanda Downing says:

    Free Wenka please! Please let her have some enjoyment in her life. This is cruel and terrible treatment. Please just do it!

  • Linda Grieco says:

    free this animal so he may enjoy some of his life

  • Linda Grieco says:

    Free this old doll so he may enjoy some of his life

  • Linda Grieco says:

    Free this old doll so he may enjoy some of his life

  • drpammyo says:

    Ask President Obama to end research on chimpanzees and stop wasteful government spending! If this petition gets 25,000 signatures by November 4, 2011, the White House will review it and respond:

  • Amanda says:

    I saw that movie. Primate by Frederick Wiseman. The movie really captures the total mental sickness of the animal researchers at Yerkes. They are psychopaths, that is very clear to see. I know Yerkes would like to see this movie erased.

  • keith says:

    ” Thank you Julie ” yes always a cover up in these places a bit like the WW2 propaganda films showing concentration camps of both Germany & Japan with well fed happy inmates merily working and playing the reality was somehow very different. May the researchers live to regret their inhumane actions one day : but of course that is truly wishful thinking.

  • Julie says:

    Considering that Yerkes has over 100 chimpanzees and nearly 4,000 primates the playground photo is too good to be true. For a true look inside Yerkes see the movie “Primates”. It is the only true inside look into Yerkes and when the film was made Wenka had already been there for 20 years.

  • Paulo says:

    Recently, Barcelona initiated what will hopefully become a chain of events to free animals from human cruelty and torture. The proposed ban mentioned here should become law and show the world that ‘torture is not culture’

  • keith says:

    Just been reading the Emory web pages the Chimp playground shown looks too good to be true is that photo faked, does anybody know ? and the smug false smiles of the self-rightous researchers says it all really ‘ its okay what I do as long as its not done to me that is.’