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Documentary: Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History

In Defense of Animals, San Rafael, CA

For Immediate Release

Contact: Eric Kleiman (717) 939-3231


IDA Congratulates Filmmaker for Exposing Suffering of Chimpanzees Used in Biomedical Experiments

New York, N.Y. (September 25, 2007) -- Last night in New York, a powerful documentary that tells the stories of hundreds of chimpanzees saved from research labs was awarded a News & Documentary Emmy for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Research." Today, In Defense of Animals (IDA), which provided extensive research and documentation for the film, praised the filmmaker, Allison Argo, for her groundbreaking work on this subject.

"We congratulate Ms. Argo and PBS for so powerfully and poignantly exposing the suffering that chimpanzees endure in labs," said Eric Kleiman, Research Director of IDA. "We are proud that our eight-year campaign was successful in shutting down the world's largest chimpanzee testing lab, freeing over 250 chimpanzees, many of whom are featured in this film."

The documentary, titled "Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History," tells the stories of hundreds of chimpanzees saved from chimpanzee research labs, two of which - The Coulston Foundation of Alamogordo, N.M. and New York University's Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates - were shut down amidst intense and years-long IDA investigations and campaigns.

IDA has been in the forefront of working to stop research on chimpanzees and exposing their abuse in labs for over 13 years. Kleiman provided Ms. Argo, the writer, producer and director of the film, with extensive support and documentation relating to the decades-long controversy over hundreds of chimpanzees held in labs in New Mexico by the Air Force and the Coulston Foundation.

"While we celebrate this film that documented the transformation in the lives of the chimps who made it out, we cannot forget those who were left behind," Kleiman said. Two hundred and fifty chimpanzees are still held at Holloman Air Force Base in the lab that was operated by Coulston and was taken over by the federal National Institutes of Health in 2001.

In addition to providing Ms. Argo with documentation, IDA also submitted evidence of criminal animal cruelty at this federal lab to Otero County, N.M. District Attorney Scot Key. After independently corroborating the information through a year-long criminal investigation, Key filed unprecedented criminal cruelty charges against Charles River Laboratories, the government contractor that now operates the lab. The case is currently under appeal at the New Mexico Supreme Court.

For more information on IDA's ongoing campaign to save chimpanzees from labs and end chimpanzee research, please see

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