Monday, December 26, 2011

2012 - Year of the Chimpanzee

If we are ever going to get U.S. captive chimpanzees out of laboratories, basements, and filming studios and give them sanctuary, with the respect and care they deserve the year 2012 will be pivotal. In fact, I believe that 2012 will be the Year of the Chimpanzee. So I’ve started a new Facebook page, facebook.com/yearofthechimp, to bring together news of all the organizations, events, and people who are fighting for new U.S. policies on chimpanzees.
Consider…
2012 is the year to stop
chimp research
The National Institutes of Health is on the brink of stopping the flow of federal dollars for unnecessary chimpanzee research, although we still have fights ahead on what exactly is “unnecessary.” (I believe that all invasive research is unnecessary and wasteful, not to mention cruel.)
The Fish and Wildlife Service has asked for comments on whether to consider designating ALL chimpanzees, captive and free, as endangered. If history is any indication, the designation process will be long and hard. The research industry will bring everything into this fight.
April 2012 will mark the five-year anniversary of Congressional consideration of the Great Ape Protection Act without ever having a vote on any of the bills. This year, I will not be a chump. I will not donate to the campaign of any member of the House or Senate until they co-sponsor AND VOTE on the bills.
These policy considerations are underway just as the public is experiencing the Year of the Chimpanzee in popular entertainment.
Consider…
Project Nim, a wonderful film about a chimpanzee who was the subject of language research in the 1970s, is on everyone’s short list for a Best Documentary nomination in the Academy Awards.
Andy Serkis, the world’s leading performance capture artist, brilliantly portrayed the leading revolutionary chimpanzee in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and should be nominated for an Oscar if there is any justice in this world.
For Earth Day 2012, Disney is releasing Chimpanzeea true story about a family of wild chimps in Africa.
2011 was a great year for books, and will be hard to top in 2012. Unsaid, a touching novel written by Neil Abramson, says so much about the agony of chimpanzees (and their caregivers) in research. Andrew Westoll’s book, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, was a heart-wrenching true story about the rescue and rehabilitation of chimpanzees from the infamous research programs at LEMSIP.

And, on the cutting edge, Lincoln Park Zoo and Project ChimpCARE released a free iPad book for children, Chimps Should be Chimps.
With Disney, Andy Serkis, Nim, FWS, NIH, and Congress all in the news in 2012, and armed with the fantastic books from 2011, we have an historic opportunity for public education. Let's make it count for something!
2012 will be the Year of the Chimpanzee, I have no doubt. Start the year with us on Facebook.

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