I just ran across a beautiful video on Wayne Pacelle's Humane Society blog. It's only two minutes and worth your time. It shows a group of chimpanzees stepping out into the sunlight for the first time at an Austrian sanctuary after 30 years of living in cages about the size of a kitchen table and being subjected to invasive research procedures. You'll hear German narration over the footage but the images clearly show that these animals were experiencing joy, curiosity and happiness as they felt daylight and fresh air for the first time in their lives. I love the little hug the first one turns and gives one of his friends!
As Wayne notes in his blog, "although chimps are so similar to us genetically, many experiments conducted on them such as HIV studies have been unproductive in yielding any medical advance for people. Yet the United States continues to warehouse hundreds of these animals in laboratories at an enormous financial cost to taxpayers and a moral cost to our entire society." The United States is the last country to still perform testing on chimps. And The Humane Society is working to extend full protection to these animals under the Endangered Species Act. Hopefully times are changing and we can soon eliminate this unproductive and heartbreaking form of research.