Have you heard about Brandon Wood? He is one of the most active chimpanzee advocates, always working tirelessly to help chimps through petitions, fundraisers, and tabling events. Did I mention he’s just 12 years old? He’s an inspiration! His latest project is a petition to a drug company Merck, a private biomedical testing lab, to stop biomedical testing on chimpanzees. Though the National Institutes of Health is moving toward retiring government-funded chimps in research, there are still many chimps in privately-funded labs. Lend Brandon a hand and help the chimps today by signing his petition! And don’t forget to share it with your friends, too.
take action tuesday
The new Spike TV show called Urban Tarzan is all about wild animals found in human environments. Though the series has a whole slew of wild animals, the premiere episode from a few weeks ago featured a young chimpanzee actor. The show is supposed to be a reality series, but everything is scripted and the scenes are all staged.
There is a growing public awareness about the ethical problems with using chimpanzees in entertainment. Please remind the producers of the show about these issues by sending them a polite letter. Ask them to remove the episode from the air and pledge to never use primates in their productions again. Your letters can make a difference! In the last couple months both Great Clips and CR Fashion Book have removed content with chimpanzee actors after receiving educational letters from advocates like you!
Let the producers of Urban Tarzan know that brutal training practices in the entertainment industry are well documented. Remind them that in addition to welfare concerns, using chimpanzees in the media seriously hinders conservation efforts of free-living chimpanzees.
You may submit your comments to Spike TV’s Facebook page, or post Tweets that express your concern, such as @1UrbanTarzan very disappointed to see a chimp in your show. Please remove the episode! www.EyesOnApes.org
Sample Letter to Spike TV/Urban Tarzan:
I was extremely disappointed to hear that Urban Tarzan featured a young chimpanzee actor in the first episode. You should know that chimpanzees used in entertainment are torn away from their mothers as infants, often repeatedly beaten during training, and then discarded when they become too strong to be managed.
The show is supposed to be about rescuing wild animals from human homes, but since it is staged you are not following your own advice! Chimpanzees do not belong in human homes and they do not belong on TV either. Aside from welfare concerns, their appearance in the media seriously hinders conservation efforts. Surely you are aware that chimpanzees are endangered species in critical need of protection?
Please make the compassionate decision to remove the chimpanzee episode from rotation, and please consider to never exploit great apes for entertainment purposes again. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.
[Your name here]
CR Fashion Book has a new issue set to hit stands on Thursday with a big spread featuring Bently, an infant chimpanzee. Bently is owned by Mike Casey, who you might remember was put in front of county commissioners in Las Vegas because he lacked a permit to house his chimpanzees. He has a record of abusing his chimps, punching them, hitting them with a rod, and throwing hot water in their face. Casey also was responsible for breeding Travis, who as an adult escaped and mauled a Connecticut woman in 2009.
In their post about Bently’s upcoming appearance, CR Fashion Book also boasts that Bently’s brother Kenzy was the star of the Speed Racer movie, which actually got an unacceptable rating from the American Humane Association due on-set abuse.
Bently, Kenzy, and others like them deserve to be in a sanctuary where they can receive lifetime quality care. By featuring Bently in their magazine alongside humans, CR Fashion Book is perpetuating the pubic misunderstanding of chimpanzee nature.
Please send a polite letter to CR Fashion Book and ask them to remove the spread from the issue before sending it to stands on Thursday, and ask them to pledge to never use primates in future publications. Your letters make a difference – just earlier this year, Great Clips pulled a commercial featuring a young chimpanzee after they heard from concerned advocates like you.
You may send your letter to the editor-in-chief, Carine Roitfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also submit your comments to their Facebook page, or comment on this picture they posted from “behind-the-scenes” of the shoot.
Sample Brief Facebook Comment:
Bently the young chimpanzee should not be used in this way. His trainer has a history of abuse! Chimpanzees bred for the pet and entertainment industry eventually become big and strong and it is within their nature to be aggressive. Bently and other chimpanzees simply do not belong with humans, and your magazine spread is suggesting otherwise. Please remove the spread and pledge to never use primates in future publications!
Sample Letter to the Editor-in-Chief:
Dear Ms. Roitfeld:
I was shocked and disappointed to hear that CR Fashion Book is planning to feature Bently, a young chimpanzee. You should know that chimpanzees used in entertainment are torn away from their mothers as infants, often repeatedly beaten during training, and then discarded when they become too strong to be managed. Bently’s trainer has a history of abuse.
Featuring Bently alongside humans sends the message that these amazing beings are simply props. Surely you are aware that chimpanzees are endangered species in critical need of protection? You are exploiting chimpanzees for your own profits and this is an unacceptable business practice.
Please make the compassionate decision to remove the chimpanzee spread from your magazine, and consider making a pledge to never use primates in future publications. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.
[Your name here]
[Your city & state]
If you send a e-mail to CR Fashion Book, please remember to BCC Eyes on Apes at EyesOnApes@ChimpsNW.org for tracking purposes. Thank you!
Last week we sent out a newsletter regarding the good news from the NIH working group who met last Tuesday. To review some of the main points from the report, read Sarah’s blog here. They made several recommendations, but the biggest bottom line is: most of the chimpanzees currently being used in research should be retired into the Federal Sanctuary System, but a small number (they suggested around 50) should be held back in a reserve colony for possible future research.
The next step in the process is to solicit public comment regarding the recommendations, which is located here. It is quite daunting in its length and detail—but don’t let that stop you. All you need to do is fill in your name, email, and then scroll all the way to the bottom to fill in a box labeled “Overall Comments.” If you want to be more specific, leave a comment in the field for “Chimpanzee Research Colony Size and Placement: Recommendation SP2.” You can get to that field easily by selecting the “colony size and placement” option from the drop menu at the top of the page.
In your comments, encourage the NIH to accept the recommendations, but also remind them that there is no reason to have any chimpanzees in research—not even a small group of 50. You could mention that no other industrialized nation tests on chimpanzees. Chimpanzees have complex social, psychological, and physical needs that cannot be met in labs. They have been imprisoned for a crime they did not commit, and are injected with diseases or vaccines, forced to undergo surgeries, sometimes kept in solitary confinement, and regularly shot with darts to be anesthetized. Remember to remain polite and be succinct. If you want to share what you submit in the comments section here for others to see, feel free! We’ll share a copy of what we submit soon too.
If you haven’t seen it already, check out this site called “The Last 1000” that is a countdown to the end of chimpanzees in biomedical laboratories. You’ll notice that Negra’s daughter Heidi is on the list along with Jody’s children Levi and April, and Foxie’s son David. These remaining research chimpanzees deserve the kind of life that the Cle Elum Seven have—one with friends, laughter, sunshine, good food, giant nests, fun enrichment, and perhaps most importantly—choices.
If you haven’t heard, Great Clips had a commercial a couple weeks ago that featured a chimpanzee. Just a day after our alert went out and folks wrote to them, the CEO made a statement saying they would pull the ad and never work with apes again! Victories like this keep the momentum going—your letter writing really does make a difference! On that note please send a quick message to Steak ‘n Shake, who currently has a commercial with a chimpanzee:
Click on this link to be taken to the action alert which contains contact information and a sample letter. Be sure to spread the word and forward the alert to your friends! And if you haven’t subscribed to our Take Action: Eyes on Apes Alerts mailing list already, sign up now.
Another way you can help apes right now is to sign this petition to Dr. Oz, who recommended his viewers try using palm oil as a healthy alternative oil. Please let him and his producers know that palm oil production is slowly driving orangutans into extinction! For more information about this issue, take a look at this past Take Action Tuesday post.
Thank you as always for speaking up for these apes. Keep up the great work!
As we’ve mentioned before, despite a growing public awareness about the plight of chimpanzees in entertainment, they are still being exploited for a cheap laugh. Recently, Great Clips (a nationwide hair salon franchise) aired a commercial launching their new feature, “Clip Notes” with a chimpanzee toward the end. The chimpanzee is seen exhibiting a “fear grimace” – a sign that they were likely beaten or abused prior to the commercial’s production.
Please write to Great Clips to ask them to pull the commercial from the air and pledge to never work with apes again.
Sample Letter to Great Clips:
Dear Ms. Olsen:
I was shocked and disappointed to hear that Great Clips has a commercial that features a young chimpanzee. You should know that chimpanzees used in entertainment are torn away from their mothers as infants, often repeatedly beaten during training, and then discarded when they become too strong to be managed.
Using a chimpanzee for a cheap laugh sends the message that these amazing beings are simply props. Surely you are aware that chimpanzees are endangered species in critical need of protection? You are exploiting chimpanzees for your own profits and this is an unacceptable business practice.
Please make the compassionate decision to remove the chimpanzee from your commercial, and please consider to never exploit great apes for entertainment purposes again. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.
You may also submit your comments to their Facebook page, or post Tweets that express your concern, such as: @GreatClips I was disappointed to see a chimp in your ad for #clipnotes. Please remove the ad! www.chimpsnw.org
**If you send a letter, please BCC EyesOnApes@ChimpsNW.org for tracking purposes. Thank you!
Since Eyes on Apes has broadened its focus to include all great apes, I thought I would share some information about gorillas. There are four different sub species of gorilla: the Mountain gorilla, the Western Lowland gorilla, the Eastern Lowland gorilla (also known as the Grauer’s gorilla), and the Cross River gorilla. All sub species are endangered, but the Cross River and Mountain gorillas have the smallest populations, with numbers in just the hundreds. The Mountain gorillas are the sub species that were studied by the famed primatologist Dian Fossey, who observed gorillas in the Virunga Mountains before her tragic murder in 1985. Fossey was the Jane Goodall of the gorilla world. Recently, some good news came out of the protected areas surrounding the Mountain gorillas’ habitat: their population is rising! New census numbers reveal that populations have increased by nearly 100 gorillas since the last census, bringing the total number of Mountain gorillas to 880. This shows that the protection surrounding the forest and conservation efforts are working!
Though this is good news for one sub species of gorilla, the other three in the more lowland areas are in greater danger of human encroachment. As I mentioned in a post about the plight free-living chimpanzees, humans have logged for expensive woods in the middle of the African rainforest, creating logging roads that make it easier for hunters to kill the apes and sell their meat on the black market for the bushmeat trade. Coltan mining is another huge threat to gorilla habitat (coltan is the material used in LCD screens). The easiest way to take action for the gorillas in these areas besides donating to a conservation organization is to be a conscious consumer. Just like I mentioned with the plight of free-living orangutans, be aware of where your products you are purchasing are coming from. Recycle products with an LCD screen when you upgrade to a new device, or even if is broken – the parts can still be recycled. CSNW can even help you recycle your old cell phones!
Photo courtesy of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme’s Facebook page