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Television to Take Unprecedented Look at Chimpanzees Rescued from Labs

An upcoming documentary will give millions of Americans a first-hand glimpse at the lives of former U.S. research chimpanzees now living in sanctuaries. Scheduled to air November 5th, Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History will launch PBS' 25th season of NATURE. The film, by award-winning documentary filmmaker Alison Argo, captures the chimpanzees as they move through their unique and individual struggles and joys following life in research.

Highlights of the film include footage of the chimpanzees at the Fauna Foundation, Save the Chimps, and the Center for Great Apes, privately funded sanctuaries now home to chimpanzees from research and entertainment. Fauna and Save the Chimps have individuals that have spent all or most of their lives in research. Gloria Grow, founder and director of Fauna, and honorary chair of Project R&R: Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories, was delighted by the response from members of the press at a recent Los Angeles screening at the Television Critics Association. "It is an honor that NATURE chose this film to premier its 25th season," said Ms. Grow. "The chimpanzees are the stars of this film that poignantly tells their stories."

The documentary is being hailed by Project R&R and its growing coalition. Project R&R is a national campaign of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS) working to end chimpanzee research. Project R&R advisory board members include world-renowned chimpanzee experts such as Jane Goodall, PhD; Roger Fouts, PhD; Gloria Grow; Carole Noon, PhD; and others. NEAVS' expertise was made available throughout the making of the film. Project R&R is currently focusing on the release of the 21 oldest chimpanzees in U.S. laboratories -- those born on or before 1960. Inquiries revealed that some of the oldest chimpanzees have recently died, fueling an urgency to get the remaining elders into sanctuary before it is too late.

"Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History courageously shows the realities of captivity and challenges our responsibility to these great apes who are so like us," says Theodora Capaldo, EdD, president of NEAVS, and director of Project R&R. "The film promises to enlighten and educate the public. It guarantees to inspire serious dialogue and change for our next of kin. It is time."

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