What happens to “retired” research chimps? »
NPR had a nice report on Friday about the lives of chimps after they have been “retired” from scientific study, specifically those at the National Institutes of Health. Yes, “retired” is a bullshit term and life for lab animals is horrific, but obfuscatory vocabulary shouldn’t detract from the actual greatness of taking chimpanzees out of those labs; we made their lives hell, but now we are taking them out of that hell.
NPR focuses on two facilities that take in research chimps, Save the Chimps in Florida, and Chimp Haven in Louisiana. Both sanctuaries tell science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce that they are willing and able to take in more of the NIH’s retired chimps (which number in the hundreds), but because “Congress put a [$30 million] cap on how much the agency can spend on chimp sanctuaries when it passed the CHIMP Act in 2000,” and the NIH has already spent almost $29 million so far. Save the Chimps and Chimp Haven are raising more money to meet demand, but for 100 recently retired chimps, the NIH instead chose to make them “ineligible for experiments,” and “moved [them] to a different lab that had space to house them” instead of sending them to sanctuaries.
The cost of keeping a chimp in a lab for a year, $15,000, is close to the annual cost of housing a chimp in a sanctuary. As Greenfieldboyce reports, the sanctuaries are working on raising $5 million right now to take on the retired chimps, as well as make room for chimps expected to be retired by the NIH soon. The story is an interesting read (and better listen), if you can get past the “retired” euphemism. Because come on, NIH, none of these chimpanzees ever applied for the “jobs” you gave them.
[Photo of Chimp Haven resident by Steve Snodgrass via Flickr]
That’s Pam from True Blood throwing down for lab chimps! She’s working with PCRM to help pass the Great Ape Protection Act which is the best act and MUST MUST MUST pass. And as you certainly know, you don’t fuck with Pam; she will eat your face. And you will like it. Why is she the sexiest best?
Also, how freaky is it to see Kristin Bauer looking like a human? She’s all-American beautiful like a Charlie’s Angel or some equally gorgeous shiz but I don’t like it. Pam is severe! When you look at her you know she’s gonna either make fun of you and then kill you or make fun of you and then fuck you and then kill you, and that’s a quality I look for in my women. Rowr.
Dear will.i.am: supporting animal abuse is tacky »
It has recently come to my attention that in Elle magazine you call women who have condoms at their house “tacky.” As a woman, I am horrifically offended. Perhaps you did not realize that we are living in a time in which STDs run rampant? Perhaps you did not realize that pregnancy comes from unprotected sex? I have to take care of myself, and yes, that means I have condoms in my drawer. While it is always a little awkward when someone you are newly seeing pulls one out (Why do they have those? Who were they sleeping with before? How recent? Is there someone else?), let’s not kid ourselves that a Walgreens is always open or a feasible distance away. I need to look out for myself. But according to you, I am tacky? Turns out I’m also STD-free, which I think is decidedly un-tacky.
I’d now like to point out an incident involving you and your band (The Black Eyed Peas) that I find, for lack of a better word, tacky.
To wit: Performing a concert in Spain that “is a major sponsor” of the TV show Involución, which directly supports the abuse and exploitation of chimpanzees. Involución, translated as “devolution,” is a competition-based reality show in which a chimpanzee called Darwin (real name Noah) competes alongside humans in very humiliating and unfavorable tasks (mostly for the voluntary human participants). Animals don’t belong in the entertainment industry; they’re often abused to make them perform. Noah is no exception, as he belongs to animal trainer Steve Martin, who has already been cited numerous times by the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. I understand your band has supported PETA in the past, by urging KFC to treat the chickens they cook more humanely. So what about other animals, specifically Noah?
Please, will.i.am, take a stand against unprotected sex, and animal abuse and exploitation.
SECOND BONUS LETTER!
Dear Everyone Else Ever,
Please sign the petition telling the Black Eyed Peas to stop supporting chimpanzee abuse!
Zoo chimps not enjoying their gilded cage »
A new study from the University of Kent’s School of Anthropology and Conservation is saying zoo environments may cause behavior indicative of mental illness in chimpanzees. That’s kind of a lot of run around, I know, but they really aren’t pulling any punches:
Some abnormal behaviours persist despite interventions to ‘naturalise’ the captive conditions and we suggest that captivity itself may be fundamental as a causal factor in the presence of persistent, low-level, abnormal behaviour (and potentially more extreme levels in some individuals). The cognitive and behavioural challenges in captivity are fewer than in the wild—stressful and dangerous place that it may be—and many normal behaviours and normal development are precluded. While extreme levels of abnormal behaviour may be explicable by individuals’ particular histories, the pattern of low-level, pervasive abnormal behaviour shown by this study suggests that chimpanzee minds struggle to cope with conditions of captivity, despite the best efforts of those charged with their care.
So they are like, captivity could be fundamentally damaging no matter how great the zoo is. Well, that’s a development. Even if we pretend the majority of zoos aren’t total crap-holes, they are saying captivity itself is bad. That’s major. The study mentions lots of things zoos do to try and enrich the lives of their chimpanzees, like mix up their meal schedule and make them pretend-gather their food (yawn), but it doesn’t matter. The chimps are going stir-crazy.
They* are always bragging about how much longer animals live in captivity than the wild and it’s like, yeah they live extra-long crappy lives—it’s like The Matrix! They are safe but they aren’t alive!
Next time someone tries to tell you how captivity is not so bad and that some zoo is treating its chimps so well, you tell them, “It doesn’t matter, bucko!** Zoos are total bullshit!” Now, let’s get these animals to sanctuaries and stop taking new ones from the wild. Free the chimps!
*You know how they are.
**People like when you call them bucko. I know this, I was an anthropology major.
[Picture by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Stock]
When I started watching this ad, I thought it was about the cruelty of sending animals into space, in particular apes; the part where the chimp looks at the photo of himself hugging the man is when my heart started to break, and when he reached out for Earth, I full-on cried. They abandoned the chimpanzee!, I thought; he’ll never see Earth or his man again! This is the saddest thing! How can anyone think experimenting on animals is acceptable, especially sending sentient beings into fucking outer space with no intention of bringing them back? What the fuck is wrong with people?
Then the video ended, and I realized it’s not about, say, the Great Ape Protection Act (still in committee), but just saving the planet or whatever. Because a chimpanzee could survive in a tiny capsule for 65 years without going insane, or dying of loneliness. I get the idea, WWF, Leo Burnett and Ben Lee, but fuck you guys anyway for ignoring the larger issue literally staring us in the face: chimpanzees, and all animals, aren’t our property to send into space or use for pharmaceutical testing or wear or eat or breed. This is rather a larger issue than “Please don’t litter.”
[link from Daily Dish]
Radiolab keeps the animal-related hits coming »
Need some heartbreak in your day? Then tune in to Radiolab’s latest episode for the story of Lucy, the chimp raised as a human child (in the name of science).
Then, while your dander is up, urge your congress person to support the Great Ape Protection Act.
Curious chimpanzees are curious! HELLO CHIMPANZEE!! I want to HUG YOU. Some day—because infinite time allows for infinite possibilities—I will get to hug a chimpanzee, and it will be as delightful as I imagine it.
Your truly heartbreaking image of the day: a troop of chimps looks on in grief as one of their elders, Dorothy, is taken to be buried. Dorothy was rescued from an amusement park and relocated to Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center in Cameroon.
“Her presence, and loss, was palpable, and resonated throughout the group. The management at Sanaga-Yong opted to let Dorothy’s chimpanzee family witness her burial, so that perhaps they would understand, in their own capacity, that Dorothy would not return. Some chimps displayed aggression while others barked in frustration. But perhaps the most stunning reaction was a recurring, almost tangible silence. If one knows chimpanzees, then one knows that [they] are not [usually] silent creatures.”
From National Geographic.
Tonight! Help chimpanzees! »
The Great Ape Protection Act needs your help. Come to our letter writing party to help chimpanzees! We’ll be writing letters to Rep. Jackie Speier and other representatives to show our support for the measure.
Vegan cupcakes will be provided, naturally! More info here.