After three decades in captivity, a group of 38 chimpanzees who had been abused in painful hepatitis and HIV experiments in an Austrian laboratory were finally released to a sanctuary, where they can spend the rest of their lives in peaceful retirement. A television camera operator captured the awe-inspiring moment when the chimpanzees cautiously stepped out of their enclosures and into daylight for the first time in 30 years, embracing one another to celebrate their newfound freedom.
These chimpanzees have not been used in experiments for more than 10 years, but their future was in limbo when the Austrian safari park where they were living went bankrupt. It was believed that the group would be split up and sent to zoos around Europe. But animal advocates around the world, including PETA and our members and supporters, wrote to the drug company that sent the chimpanzees to the park and implored it to ensure that the chimpanzees would be sent to a sanctuary and not be separated from one another. Thanks to those of you who spoke out, the chimpanzees are now living together happily at an animal sanctuary where they can feel the grass under their feet and the wind on their faces for the first time in decades!
While it’s wonderful that these chimpanzees now have a safe haven, chimpanzees in the U.S. continue to be locked up and abused in laboratories, as PETA spelled out in a column in today’s issue of the influential D.C. newspaper The Hill. You can help give their story a happy ending, too, by asking your congressional representatives to support the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (H.R. 1513/S. 810), which will permanently end invasive experiments on all great apes in the U.S. and retire hundreds of chimpanzees to sanctuaries. Can’t wait to see those videos!
Written by Jeff Mackey