At Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, we made a conscious decision to focus on sharing the personalities of the chimpanzees with everyone we could – to show who they are and the steps they are taking to recover from their past lives as biomedical research subjects.
There are more happy, goofy, playful, funny moments in a day at the sanctuary than we could possibly share with everyone. We treasure each of these moments and are so thankful to everyone who has helped us to create a place where the Cle Elum Seven can find joy.
But we know that there are nearly 1,000 other chimpanzees still in biomedical research within the United States who deserve the same opportunity – the chance to live out their lives in a legitimate sanctuary where they can begin to experience happiness. Seeing lists of numbers or names from labs that represent chimpanzees is a haunting experience. Each number is a chimpanzee full of personality just like Burrito, Negra, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, Missy and Annie, and some of those chimpanzees are relatives of the seven – sons, daughters and cousins.
Last week we sent out an e-newsletter about 110 chimpanzees that the government claimed were being retired, though 100 of them are slated to move to another laboratory, not a sanctuary.
For more on this issue, I urge you to take a few moments and read this article published yesterday by Craig Maslow of the Houston Press. After reading it, you will want to want to take some sort of tangible action. A couple of ideas for action are provided here by Animal Protection of New Mexico.
It also happens to be National Primate Liberation Week next week. If you live in the Seattle area, you can participate in events that are being organized by Seattle’s Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN), Action for Animals, and the Seattle Animal Defense League. Check the NARN calendar for details on all local events. There are no chimpanzees being used in biomedical testing in the state of Washington, but there are countless monkeys used by the University of Washington and by private laboratories. For a list of primate liberation week events happening across the country, check the Stop Animal Experimentation Now! website.
There are definite signs that the end of chimpanzee biomedical research in the United States is coming to an end, particularly with the progress on the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, but we must keep the pressure up and make sure that the last of the chimpanzees in laboratories are sent to legitimate sanctuaries, and we must advocate for the tens of thousands of non-chimpanzee primates who will never know life outside of a laboratory cage.