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March 05, 2013

Lab Chimps Taste Freedom

270x240 black beauty chimp - credit chad sisneros
Chad Sisneros/The HSUS

We’ve made remarkable strides in recent months toward our goal of ending invasive chimpanzee research and retiring chimps to appropriate sanctuaries. In January, a National Institutes of Health working group tasked with examining the use of chimpanzees in NIH-funded research made sweeping recommendations that set the stage for our government’s phasing out of harmful chimpanzee research and the retirement of hundreds of federally-owned chimps to sanctuary.

On the same day that the NIH working group presented its findings to the public, the first of more than 100 government owned chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center (where inhumane treatment was the subject of a 2009 HSUS undercover investigation) arrived at Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary. The remaining chimps are scheduled to be moved to the sanctuary over the next year, provided that enough funds are raised to support construction. The HSUS has already contributed $500,000 to this effort, thanks to a very generous donor.

Recently, several staff members, including HSUS vice president Kathleen Conlee, visited Chimp Haven to document the new lives of the chimpanzees from New Iberia. You’ll get a glimpse of their first cautious steps in this unfamiliar environment, with grass beneath their feet and nothing but blue sky above them - for the first time in more than 50 years for many of them.

Please take a moment to watch this touching video, which features several of the elderly, wild-caught chimpanzees who were at the New Iberia Research Center during our investigation – such as Julius and Sandy who were both born in 1960. There are still hundreds of chimpanzees remaining in laboratories, but we have reached a tipping point in our campaign. 

 

P.S. As part of our other work to end animal use in harmful experiments, The HSUS, in partnership with Humane Society International, will launch Be Cruelty-Free Week on March 11th. During BCF Week we hope to raise awareness about the use of animals for cosmetics testing. Cosmetics companies and ingredient suppliers are still using outdated and inhumane techniques to test the safety of their products. Examples include skin and eye irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed onto the animal’s shaved skin or dripped into the eyes of restrained rabbits without any pain relief; being force-fed chemicals for weeks to months at a time, and even widely condemned “lethal dose” tests, in which animals are forced to swallow large amounts of a test chemical to determine the dose that causes death. With the availability of thousands of safe ingredients and many validated non-animal tests, including innovative technologies like lab-made human tissues, companies have no excuse to keep testing on animals.

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