Actor Woody Harrelson is working with PETA to help get 14 research chimps returned from a research lab to the rehabilitation center where they had been living. The chimps were in retirement from being tested upon in medical research studies, but for some reason were sent to another research facility. In a letter to the National Institutes of Health, Mr. Harrelson wrote: “These aging chimpanzees … have endured decades of violence and torment, having been used in everything from space experiments to high-velocity seat belt tests. Only in the last few years have they enjoyed bedding, fruit, toys, the touch and companionship of other chimpanzees, and freedom from the knife. Will you please return the 14 chimpanzees … to these simple pleasures and allow them to continue the rehabilitation that they have more than earned?” (Source: PETA.org)
If you would like to add your name to Harrelson’s in urging the NIH to return the 14 chimpanzees, PETA has created an online form letter for the cause.
The chimps were at the Alamogordo chimp release and restitution facility, where they are taken care of with the help of donations from the public, but then 14 were transferred to Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in 2010. This facility has some relationship with BioMed Texas, which has 3,000 nonhuman primates for testing. About 2,000 of these primates are baboons. The Southwest National Primate Research Center has 160 chimps. Currently they are being used in research for studies of Hepatitis C.
CNN journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell said, “Tell your congress members and senators we don’t want our tax dollars used to torture these highly sensitive, highly intelligent cousins of mankind.… Now, the Great Ape Protection Act is gathering support. It would ban all invasive research on chimps. And a growing number of scientists say chimp research is actually holding back medical progress because it’s getting all the research money that should be focused on more sophisticated, cutting edge research methods.” (Source: releasechimps.org)
The Alamorgordo chimp release and restitution project is managed by the New England Anti-Vivisection Society. They were founded to advocate for more humane medical research methods not involving humans (such as criminals or the mentally ill) or nonhuman primates.
Image Credit: Delphine Bruyere