This week is Animal Rights Awareness Week! Animal Rights Awareness Week occurs every third week of June and was created by the nonprofit organization In Defense of Animals in 1991. The week is used to “honor the animals who have been exploited and killed by humans around the world, and to create an opportunity to direct the public’s attention to the needs and wants of animals, with the idea that animals’ rights must be acknowledged and pushed to the forefront of our global consciousness.”
This year, they introduced six ways to support animals rights:
- Buy cruelty-free products
- Spread the word about animal rights
- Take action to support animal rights
- Research who you are donating to
- Ditch fur
- Go vegan
While I wouldn’t begin to try to force any of you to do any of these, I would humbly suggest doing at lease one or two to honor those who gave so much for the human race. Every little lifestyle choice helps.
There have been some big news recently in the animal rights world.
One such event was about Tonka, a chimpanzee used in entertainment, who was recently rescued after a yearlong legal battle for his release, followed by a nationwide search. When courts ordered for his release from a facility in Missouri, his owner claimed Tonka has passed on. Feeling suspicious around the owner’s story of his passing, a search was conducted for him. He was ultimately found living in a roach infested basement, in a tiny cage. He was immediately rescued and sent to fellow Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance accredited sanctuary Save the Chimps in Florida.
As a caregiver who works with chimpanzees who gave so much and given so little before sanctuary, I personally am thrilled for Tonka who can now walk around, see daylight, and experience a life with more opportunities.
Speaking of Save the Chimps, I am also thrilled the remaining chimpanzees at the Wildlife Waystation will soon call Save the Chimps home! Dubbed the Sunrise Seven, they are the last seven chimpanzees in need of a sanctuary home in the Chimps in Need campaign. This is the same campaign that helped bring Willy B, Honey B, Mave, Cy, Lucky, Rayne, Gordo, Terry, and Dora to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest!
As a caregiver to sixteen chimpanzees who have spent their lives in the biomedical industry and entertainment, we strive to make their lives as best as possible. Though we cannot erase their past, we can try to make their lives as comfortable here on out. One way we do this is use chimpanzee behaviors when interacting with them to help promote positive behaviors. Staff also change our language we use when discussing them with each other. The simplest example is that we say we “serve” them meals vice we “feed” them. They are fully capable individuals of feeding themselves, we just serve them the food. When training as a volunteer and staff, we describe it as we are servers at a restaurant and they are the customers. I am a firm believer in the saying that if you change the way you talk and the vocabulary you use talking about certain things changes the way you think about certain things. By doing this, we view all 20 of our residents (bovine included) as separate unique individuals with wants, needs, likes, dislikes, and so much more instead of just some living “thing.”
We also provide them with warm, comfortable blankets to promote the natural chimpanzee behavior of nesting. Each day they are also provided enrichment to stimulate their minds. This helps promote species specific behaviors, curb atypical typical behaviors, and help to alleviate boredom. The have structures to climb upon, and many spaces to choose from to spend their time. The point is to make them as comfortable as possible.
Again, these are 20 individuals who have given so much and were given so little in return until their new lives in sanctuary. And there are many more out there who have yet to find a sanctuary home. This spans beyond chimpanzees and cattle. Species such as macaques, beagles, mice, rabbits, kittens, dolphins, seals, the list goes on, are still used for medical testing, cosmetic testing, and entertainment purposes. This week is used to honor those who gave that sacrifice, and to raise awareness for those still in those still giving that sacrifice.
That being said, please enjoy these photos of our residents living their life in sanctuary!
Here are some photos from yesterday’s Trifecta Jubilee:
The Cattle in their new pasture:
Nutmeg and Betsy:
And a few snapshots from today:
Jamie in her Greenhouse:
Dora and Mave:
I hoped you enjoyed that photo dump! 😅