American Chronicle]

Nature, an American PBS series, just carried a show called "Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History." Allison Argo, its writer, director, producer, and narrator, did a fairly competent job of showing how chimps have been exploited and mutilated by biomedical research. Overall, the show is moving, and, for the general public, should have an impact on anyone with a heart.

I have a few objections to attitudes expressed here and there, like the idea that the "Air Force" Chimps 'gave their all' and now deserve to be 'retired.' 'Gave' implies voluntary activity and these captive chimps were just that, captives, prisoners. A chimp in captivity has had her life taken from her. She didn't just hop in there and say, "Yes, torture me for medical research!"

Argo implies that medical research on animals has been beneficial for humans, a highly debatable viewpoint. In reality, our sick species has not become any healthier by torturing animals: setting dogs on fire, sewing the eyes of kittens shut, forcing rats to run until they die of exhaustion, engineering mice who are born with cancer—all of this brings in big grants and funds for scientists, but it is not 'curing' us of our illnesses. (Please remember that every time you donate to all these breast cancer organizations and all these AIDS research groups, and to charities like the March of Dimes, you are funding animal torture and not necessarily helping humans.)
One concern of the chimps' sanctuary caretakers has been to give them some peace before they die, since they have endured so much. It is not always easy since the chimps are not just in terrible mental shape, but also plagued by physical problems after years of being tortured in labs. Some only briefly enjoy the freedom of grass and air and sky before they die. It is something, at least, for them to have a few days or months of gentleness and freedom.
There are many alternatives to experimenting on animals. Three American groups with tons of information about this are: the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (; the American Anti-Vivisection Society (; and The New England Anti-Vivisection Society ( There are also numerous groups in the UK. All of the above groups also list charities that do not experiment on animals. Easter Seals, for example, does only non-animal based research.

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