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In Defense of Animals Claims Unprecedented Victory

Alamogordo, NM (September 18, 2002) – For perhaps the first time in history, an animal protection group has forced an animal research lab out of existence, In Defense of Animals (IDA) announced today.  IDA’s victory was made complete when the Center for Captive Chimpanzee Care, a state-of-the-art Florida sanctuary, said that it was permanently retiring the 266 chimpanzees and 61 monkeys at the now-defunct Coulston Foundation, including 16 of the famed “space chimpanzees” abandoned by the Air Force and babies whom the NIH tried to buy for research.

The stunning closure of the controversial lab – which had received well over $40 million in government funding – came after an unrelenting eight-year campaign by IDA prompted unprecedented regulatory action by the FDA, the USDA, and other agencies, cessation of federal funds, international media scrutiny, crippling losses of private clients, Congressional pressure, bank foreclosure and, eventually, total financial collapse.  

“We are deeply gratified that after eight years of work, we have obtained justice for the chimpanzees who have suffered so long at the hands of The Coulston Foundation,” said IDA president Elliot Katz, DVM.

Katz scoffed at the lab’s spin on the developments, published in yesterday’s Dallas Morning News, in which a spokesperson claimed that Coulston had “let” the chimpanzees retire.  Katz said the lab did not voluntarily do anything; it was forced to approach the Center because of the total financial ruin caused by IDA’s campaign.

“It is in memory of Donna, Jello, Echo, Holly and all of the other chimpanzees who lived and died so horribly at Coulston that we celebrate this total victory,” Katz continued.  “This would not have been possible without our network of courageous whistleblowers and the continuing support of our members.  And we can never thank enough the Center for Captive Chimpanzee Care – led by Drs. Carole Noon, Roger Fouts and Jane Goodall and supported by the incredible generosity of the Arcus Foundation as well as the help of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society – for coming forward and turning Coulston’s demise into the impossibly perfect outcome of permanent retirement for the surviving chimpanzees.”

In August 1995, Foundation CEO Fred Coulston was riding high, boasting of becoming the “sole source” of chimpanzees after gaining control of 650 (nearly half the U.S. population in labs) – many of them “callously cast aside” by the Air Force, New York University, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and New Mexico State University.  At the time, the lab was flush with millions of dollars in NIH and industry funding, and looking to expand the use of chimpanzees with a $40+ million primate-aging center. 

Today, Fred Coulston’s depraved dream of “cornering the market” on chimpanzees is dead.  The octogenarian toxicologist has directly blamed IDA for his lab’s demise.  “Even though The Coulston Foundation is dead, its perverted view of chimpanzees as ‘hairy test tubes’ lives on,” Katz warned.  “Our work is far from over.  IDA will not rest until all research on chimpanzees ends, and each one of the 1,400 still imprisoned in labs is forever freed from the horrors of experimentation.

More information, including a detailed Chronology, Overview and Milestones of IDA's campaign, as well as a listing of the unique individuals being permanently retired by the Center, are available on the web at

Lydia Nichols
In Defense of Animals
131 Camino Alto
Mill Valley, CA 94941
415.388.9641 p
415.388.0388 f