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Chimps Deserve Better: Campaign Seeks to End the Use of Chimpanzees in Harmful Research and Testing

HSUS ©2007
The "Chimps Deserve Better" campaign coincides with the 10th anniversary of Lulu and friends' arrival at Black Beauty Ranch. Lulu's picture appeared in Times Square in August, 2007, to commemorate the event.

Chimpanzees, and other intelligent primates, are routinely used for biomedical research and testing, housed in cages where their movement and socialization is restricted. Despite new research methods that reduce, refine and even replace animal use, harmful suffering continues. A new public education advocacy campaign, "Chimps Deserve Better," is designed to draw attention to—and eventually eliminate—the use of animals in harmful research and testing.

It all Started with Nim

Author Cleveland Amory, late founder of The Fund for Animals, envisioned a world where animals would be free from cruelty, abuse, and neglect. In 1979, Cleveland established Black Beauty Ranch as a sanctuary where rescued animals could live their lives in as natural a setting as possible. With the ranch in place, Cleveland and The Fund conducted a highly publicized—and successful—rescue of a chimp named Nim Chimpsky, who although famous for his signing abilities, was nevertheless going to be sold to a research lab. Nim's plight brought nationwide attention to the issue of using animals in biomedical experiments.

Nim was an extraordinary chimp who was raised as a member of a human family until he was approximately two years old and was taught to communicate using American Sign Language. He was named after famed linguist Noam Chomsky, who did not believe that animals could navigate human language. When the grant money for sign language instruction dried up, Nim was destined for a cage in a biomedical research lab. Cleveland was appalled when he learned about Nim's unjust fate and offered the ranch as a more fitting home for the discarded chimp. Fortunately for Nim, his caretakers agreed, and he lived at the ranch—free from the researcher's needle—for the rest of his life.

Chimps Deserve Better

Today, approximately 1,300 chimps are languishing in nine laboratories and research facilities across the United States, with no parole in sight. And so, nearly 30 years after Nim's rescue, The Fund for Animals and our partners at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are launching a new advocacy campaign, "Chimps Deserve Better." The campaign aims to:

  • end the use of chimpanzees in invasive biomedical research and testing; and 
  • retire all chimpanzees currently in laboratories to permanent and appropriate sanctuaries, such as the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch.

In order to accomplish these two objectives, the campaign will advocate for new public policies to protect chimps; inform and gather support from the general public; increase the backing conferred by the scientific community; use science to challenge arguments used by research advocates; and end the breeding of new infant chimps to supply existing research programs.

Nim lived for seventeen carefree years at the ranch passing away in 2000, but his three companions—Kitty, Lulu, and Midge—will take center stage in the Chimps Deserve Better campaign, lending their personalities and unique backgrounds as research subjects to highlight the atrocities and effects of biomedical research on chimps. The Fund for Animals and The HSUS are committed to working on this issue for as long as it takes to release all chimpanzees from laboratory cages and allow them the freedom to live out the rest of their lives in peace.

Related Links

  • Read about Kitty, Lulu, and Midge, the three chimpanzees at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch.

Offsite Links

Posted September 19, 2007