Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

Chimpanzees in Research: Lies, Lies, and More Lies

Researchers who abuse chimpanzees act as if they're above it all

Numerous people in the United States are closely watching the fate of more than 200 chimpanzees who have been "retired" from being used and severely abused in various research projects. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) who "owns" these sentient beings has said repeatedly that they would wait before putting these chimpanzees back into traumatic research. But now it's clear they are already planning to do this despite saying they would wait until independent experts decided whether the research was necessary. According to this report by Brandon Keim, "Documents obtained by animal advocacy groups show that the National Center for Research Resources, the NIH's chimp-overseeing division, approved in September a $19 million proposal to move the chimpanzees from their current home in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and back into lab duty at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute." Furthermore, "'It seems pretty clear that NIH's actions indicate that they plan to move the chimps regardless of what the IOM report says,' said Kathleen Conlee, animal research director with the Humane Society, which has pushed the federal government to end invasive chimpanzee research."

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

More lies. Violating a 16 year moratorium on chimpanzee breeding at the New Iberia Research Center, a hell hole for chimpanzees, director Thomas Rowell admitted that breeding did take place at this facility. A detailed report can be found here.

What can you do to stop the torture of chimpanzees and lies from people who think they're above it all? You can contact members of congress and also write to the NIH. You can directly contact Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health at 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892; email: francis.collins@nih.gov; Telephone: 301-496-2433. More contact details can be found here. Ask them not to return the retired chimpanzees to laboratories where they will be harmed once again and ask them to punish those who violate moratoriums on breeding and other agreements. 

You can also contact the New Iberia Research Center (Thomas J. Rowell, DVM, Director, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, P.O. Box 13610, New Ieria, LA 70562-3610). This is the least we can do for these amazing sentient beings who have lived horribly compromised lives "in the name of science."

Support for stopping the use of chimpanzees is coming from many different quarters. In an essay in the New York Times Representative Roscoe Bartlett (Republican, Maryland) concluded, "Americans can no longer justifying confining these magnificent and innocent animals to traumatic and invasive research and life imprisonment." The prestigious scientific journal Nature concluded its editorial called "Breeding Contempt" on the violation of the moratorium on breeding chimpanzees as follows: "Until officials are fully open with the public and demonstrate convincingly that the research centres they help to fund are both competent and compliant with the rules—and that, when they are not, the proper sanctions will ensue—US chimpanzee research risks losing public support entirely, and with good reason." (The comments on this essay are worth reading as well.) 

Each of us can and must do something now so let's get to it before these chimpanzees wind up in places where none of us would ever allow a companion animal to go. 

The image above is of two Alamogordo chimpanzees named Heidi and Robbie. Images acquired through Freedom of Information Act Request by Project R&R

The teaser image is from Save the Chimps

 

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

more...

Subscribe to Animal Emotions

Current Issue

Dreams of Glory

Daydreaming: How the best ideas emerge from the ether.