So it turns out that chimps are still being used for medical research.
Certainly, they are often MADE sick and GIVEN diseases, for simply for the purpose of testing a possible cure… but humans get sick and get diseases too, so hey, maybe somebody could ARGUE that it’s worth it.
But it gets worse than that: Experiments have included removing cartilage and vertebrae… WITHOUT an anesthetic.
And, while these types of “experiments” are being done, the chimpanzees treated in this manner are confined to small cages and concrete cells. Alone. For almost their entire lives.
This is as bad as a prison of solitary confinement, with the only release from the cell being for the purpose of torture.
How long could this go on?
Well, one poor guy that was recently rescued had been treated like this for THIRTY YEARS.
They live about as long as us, and are treated by the United States military, and other corporations, like property, so are used this way until they die.
But they are “just animals”, right?
Well, these guys have about the same intelligence as a three to five year old human being.
That means they are smart enough to know what is being done to them, but cannot understand WHY.
So, would you do this to a three-year-old?
Undercover photo taken in 1981 by a PETA activist of a monkey at the Institute for Biological Research in Silver Spring, MD.
Would you do this to a three-year-old for THIRTY YEARS?
That is what animal testing, in many cases, actually is.
And is this kind of thing still happening?
So, is there anything you can DO about it?
OH HELL YEAH!
Thank the Gods (that’s a Battlestar Galactica quote) there are people in the world that are willing to do the work to stop this kind of thing, and they are (little by tiny little bit) succeeding.
One such organization (where an old friend of mine is now working, and he is the one that tipped me off to this place) is called Save The Chimps.
Save The Chimps is a tiny group of dedicated people that have made a real live “Jurassic Park” for Chimpanzees that they have managed to rescue from the cages where they used to be forced to live. Here is what they did:
First, they got a big plot of land in Florida… an area with a nice warm climate much, much closer to what the Chimpanzees are MEANT to live in.
Then, they partitioned the land off into a dozen islands, each surrounded by a water moat. (Note: Chimpanzees are so strong that they are actually HEAVIER than us for their size… they would sink like a rock in water!!! As such, a simple moat around a private island is enough to keep these guys on their own animal preserve right in the middle of Fort Pierce, Florida!) HAR!
So, these people made their large private islands, set up the most modest of little headquarters and veterinary facility, and bought a big trailer and put a bunch of comfy overnight-railroad style compartments in it, each with a window seat. Then, they hooked the trailer to a big pick-up truck and started the first of many road-trips to rescue the Chimps from the cages where they were being imprisoned in solitary confinement for life. Their biggest rescue so far was about 266 chimps at the Coulston Foundation in New Mexico, where the chimps were taken out of their tiny concrete cages and put in the truck, each with his own window seat. Acclimating the chimps to each other and transferring them over was an incredible ten year process. I have seen footage of the chimps looking out the window as the truck rolled down I-10, gesturing wildly, excitedly pointing to all the new things they were seeing for the first time.
And then came my chance to see them for real.
Hopping onto the golf cart with some of the staff outside the simple little house that acts as their headquarters, strangely placed in the middle of a huge field separated by a system of moats creating twelve islands(!) off we went to see the Chimps!
Each island at the preserve had a modest house-looking building at it’s entrance where the Chimps came for food, to sleep if they wanted to sleep inside, get any needed medication, etc. But, whenever they wanted, they could hop right out of the house and have the run of their 3-4 acre private island, living in a manner a lot closer to the way they were meant to live. Now here is an interesting thing: We are NOT allowed to TOUCH the chimps, because, at seven times the muscle density of a human, they COULD be dangerous… but my experience at the preserve seemed to indicate that they are about as likely to be dangerous… as other humans are. Also, chimpanzees are highly susceptible to respiratory infection – and keeping them safe and healthy is a top priority. A small cold for us humans could become a real problem for them.
Even though they had to stay on the other side of the fence around the entrance to their islands, they ALWAYS came running up to the fence to SEE me. If a three-year old human can recognize people, then so can a Chimpanzee, and they immediately saw that I was not one of the regular staff whenever I approached! They would always come running up to the fence and gesture to me, try to evaluate me, and in a few cases try to intimidate me by hooting and jumping up against the fence! And, yes, I can now count myself amongst the group of people that have had a chimp throw poo at them (I dodged. He missed. It was hilarious.) One chimp had a length of hose the staff calls a ‘tickle stick’ that he used to poke through the fence to try to groom and tickle me. It was, quite simply, the only physical contact that he could make from the other side of the fence.
One smaller girl had been deprived of water back when she was kept as a (very ill-advised) pet. Even though she had all the water she could want now, whenever anyone would come by with a water bottle, she would plaintively point to the bottle and then to her mouth, over and over, begging for the bottle.
Ok here is the thing, and this is where you come in: There are still hundreds more Chimpanzees stuck in cages, and Save The Chimps has the people, the land, the expertise, and the drive to rescue them. They have what it takes to get these guys and girls out of the tiny metal or concrete cages where they are in solitary confinement right this very second, and get them into a habitat that is… well… that is a hell of a lot better. And it is NOT just better because they can roam and explore and play as they are meant to, but they can do it TOGETHER. Save The Chimps is the LARGEST group of Chimpanzees that is not in the wild, and they talk and play and relate to each other. They have us, but more importantly they have each other.
But what Save The Chimps needs is the smallest contribution from you. They have all the drive and expertise they need to finish the job of coming as close as we can to correcting our gross, gross, gross mistake of imprisoning and mistreating these Chimps, they just need more FUNDING.
And you can help with that like I am.
You might be asking yourself whether you can afford a house with FIVE THOUSAND square feet instead of FOUR THOUSAND square feet… while these chimps live their lives in a cage the size of an outhouse.
You might be asking yourself whether you can afford a car that goes to sixty miles an hour in SIX SECONDS rather than a car that goes to sixty miles an hour SEVEN SECONDs… while these chimps cannot even leave their cage.
Do you see the misguided obsession of our lives now?
My friend Chris Scott (email@example.com) is currently in charge of Human Resources and special projects at Save The Chimps, and if you can contribute, I know he would be glad to hear from you.
I promise your contribution will not go towards gleaming headquarters or bureaucratic excess… their offices are a few rooms in a simple house beside the moats. Your contribution will go towards what matters: Giving those who have been mistreated the MOST, something closer to the natural life that they deserve.
And, if you can get in on our of their Member Day tours… I pretty much guarantee you will be amazed.
You will come away knowing that SCIENCE can SAY that Chimpanzee DNA is 98.6% the same as ours… but that that statement is NOTHING compared to seeing the chimpanzees looking at you, trying to understand and interact with you as another being.
Save the Chimps, Inc.
PO Box 12220
Fort Pierce, FL 34979
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
OK, and now some pictures from my tour!
THIS is the preserve, where the Chimps can run free outside. Compare THAT to the concrete cells they used to live in!
And, from the air, you see the little islands they get to themselves, separated by moats!
And, they get to mill all about the islands, TOGETHER!
What are you looking at!? ;-P
THIS is the type of cage that the United States Government says the Chimpanzees can be confined to FOR THEIR ENTIRE LIFE.
They had one at the preserve for shipping or comparison… they never keep Chimpanzees there at the preserve, of course!
One little guy checks us out, from one of the little tunnels that lead to the islands.
Another tunnel that leads to an island… this chimp is NOT trapped here.
This little guy is trying to poke me with the hose that they gave him… ANYTHING to try to have some contact with people.
(Note: We have to stay separated from the Chimps for safety, so he stays on the other side of the cage wall, but he can retire to his big private island with all his companions whenever he likes here at the Preserve).
And, out in the islands: