Friday, June 28, 2013

End to Project X

About 20 years ago, I cowrote a screenplay on animal rights. Mind you, I am not a screaming PETA freak--I do not think a dog is the equivalent of a boy (although my dog Jim argues this).

But I do think chimpanzees, despite their less than desirable behavior as pets, are creepily close to humans and should not be fed poison and operated on willy-nilly.

Now-- the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it would retire most of its chimpanzees from biomedical research.

Francis S. Collins, NIH Director said that in the coming months, all but 50 of the animals will be transferred to sanctuaries. According to the NIH, the closest relatives of human beings “deserve special respect."

In the wild, human encroachment has led to dwindling numbers of chimpanzees that used to prosper in their native habitat. Less than 300,000 now remain. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources reported that since 1900 more than a million chimpanzees have disappeared in the wild.

I would say those may have been shot out of trees so their babies can be sent to labs.

The NIH started phasing out funding on research chimps two years ago but at present, 400 chimpanzees are still housed in a number of facilities scattered around the United States. The 50 animals that the agency will keep are on retainer and will be involved only in future crucial studies that cannot be done using alternative methodology.

On retainer--sounds like they are lawyers.

How can this be done? They have other ways to test the drugs and do the research.

Chimps are 98% the same as humans. I know people who are not 98% the same as humans!

As for the cost of a decent retirement for these guys--chimp change.

For more on one emerging chimpless testing techniques, check out my creativity site at

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