09 August 2011

Non-profit provides a glimpse into ‘The Real Planet of the Apes’

Non-profit organization Physicians Committee For Response Medicine (PCRM) is providing a glimpse into the ‘The Real Planet of the Apes’ and unfortunately unlike its movie counterpart this planet is not filled with slick CGI special effects.

The group’s new website aims to quickly educate visitors on the horrors of chimpanzee testing in the U.S. with a few eye opening facts and a 50-second HSUS video. The pithy site concludes with a four field petition that allows concerned citizens to tell officials in Washington that it’s time to end chimpanzee testing.

And after investigating the facts you’ll gladly supply your virtual John Hancock.

In the U.S. more than 1,000 chimpanzees are held captive in laboratories. The magnificent creatures in the wild roam between 1 and 6 miles per day, but in labs they are confined in cages that can be as small as 5’ x 5’ x 7’, so tiny that an adult chimp can barely stretch out vertically.

When not being imprisoned in undersized cells, the chimpanzees endure testing which can involve simple blood tests but can be as complex as invasive procedures like biopsies.

Since chimpanzees are extremely strong animals, they must be anesthetized before testing commences. The process usually involves a forceful lab worker and a dart gun. Not fun.

But the cruelty goes beyond the physical hardships caused by testing and confinement.

Chimpanzees are social creatures and since incarceration isn’t exactly a party, the animals go through long bouts of boredom and experience psychological trauma.

The isolation has been known to cause the great apes to develop compulsive behaviors like rocking back and forth, head rolling and pacing. In some cases the animals have reportedly engaged in self-mutilating behaviors such as pulling their hair out, biting themselves and rubbing their skin until it’s raw.

Not a  pretty picture.

And to think the United States remains the last holdout in passing legislation to end chimpanzee testing.

So how’s that petition looking?

Eric Fortney | Facebook |@elfortney | email
Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his work at TDIV, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit: Screen capture