Retirement ~ First Look at the Sky

More than 100 government-owned chimpanzees from a laboratory in Louisiana, many of whom have suffered a lifetime of invasive biomedical research, are now transitioning to "retirement." The Humane Society of the United States posted a heartrending video of these elderly chimps exploring their new-found (relative) freedom at Chimp Haven, a sanctuary for biomedical research chimps no longer undergoing experiments. [youtube]

This freedom has been a long time coming; many of the chimps are now more than 50 years old, and ~ habituated to a caged existence for all of their lives ~ hadn't ever before seen sunlight or touched bare earth. Let me repeat that ~ they had NEVER BEFORE seen sunlight or touched bare earth. Ever.

In 2011 the Institute of Medicine issued a report concluding that most research on chimpanzees is unnecessary and recommended that the vast majority of government research chimps be fully retired. Additionally, the report pointed to several available alternatives to chimpanzee use and called for increased support for the development of more alternative research methods. You can read more here.