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]


Let’s eat and drink and live forever!  »

Killer news, you guys: a longterm study of nearly 130,000 people found that those participants eating lower-carbohydrate, higher-protein diets in which the protein and fats came from plant sources were overall healthier and lived longer. Moreover, the study “confirmed a ‘direct association’ between animal-based low-carbohydrate food intake in men and increased cancer deaths, particularly from colorectal and lung cancer. That association aligns with previous studies that have confirmed a link between red meat, processed meat, and those two types of cancers.” Whoops! Enjoy that bacon, hope you don’t mind dying at 50.

The National Institutes of Health funded the study, which began following 85,186 women in 1980 and 44,548 men in 1986. The vegetable-protein-eaters ate more whole grains and drank more alcohol—color your Vegansaurus surprised—while the animal-protein-eaters were more likely to smoke. And yes, the study took more “positive” lifestyle factors into account as well, like vitamins and exercise; our people still outlived the death-eaters.

This coincides nicely with what Nation’s Restaurant News reports as one of fall’s big trends: VEGETABLES! Everyone’s crazy about vegetables, and not just because they are so damn delicious! Did you know that “[p]rotein production uses many more resources and generates much more waste than vegetable production”? You guys, they’re learning and mending their ways! “John Fraser, the executive chef at Dovetail in New York City, introduced meatless Mondays earlier this year and has come to enjoy focusing on cooking vegetables so much that he said he is toying with the idea of opening an all-vegetarian restaurant.”

That brings a tear to my eye, it absolutely does. Science keeps supporting our choices, and chefs are backing us up with more cruelty-free dishes. Lucky us; when we do end up living to ridiculously old age, we’ll always be able to eat well.

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