Chimpanzees Suffer Psychologically Like Humans

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Chimpanzees Suffer Psychologically Like Humans

From Project R&R, Release & Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories

A study co-authored by NEAVS / Project R&R's president, vice president, and co-chair that was published last week further documents the severe emotional trauma chimpanzees suffer as a result of laboratory use and confinement. Developmental Context Effects on Bicultural Post-Trauma Self Repair in Chimpanzees was published in the September issue, Vol 45(5), of the American Psychological Association journal Developmental Psychology.

Psychologists G.A. Bradshaw, Ph.D., Ph.D., Theodora Capaldo, Ed.D., Lorin Lindner, Ph.D., and Gloria Grow, Fauna sanctuary director, examined the case histories of three chimpanzees - Billy Jo, Tom, and Regis - all used in research before rescue into sanctuary. The study underscores the ethical implications of cross-fostering nonhuman primates and their use in research.

Says Dr. Capaldo, president of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS): “A federal bill to end the use of chimpanzees in research (the Great Ape Protection Act, H.R. 1326) has been introduced. Studies like ours expose the reality of what it is like for approximately 1000 chimpanzees languishing in U.S. labs. Chimpanzee research must stop if we are to end the suffering caused by decisions - both scientifically flawed and ethically unjustifiable - to use them as living test tubes.”

Billy Jo lived like a human child from infancy to his teenage years when he was sent to a lab. He spent his next fourteen years alone in a 5’X5’X7’ cage, enduring hundreds of procedures. He was rescued into sanctuary at age 29 and died only 8 years later.

Tom’s family was killed in order to capture him in Africa. He spent decades in three different labs undergoing multiple procedures including 369 “knockdowns” - anesthesia by dart gun. Every morning, Tom gags uncontrollably - the result of repeated intubations.

Regis, born in a lab, was only 2 years old when he was treated for his first stress-related injury — he had chewed his finger nail completely off. Regis, fearful if left alone, suffers severe anxiety attacks in which he nearly stops breathing.

The chimpanzees’ symptoms are consistent with traumatic stress, depression, and other psychological conditions. Post-Trauma Self Repair in Chimpanzees follows Building an Inner Sanctuary: Complex PTSD in Chimpanzees (published April 2008 in the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation), which represented the first time human psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses were applied to chimpanzees, demonstrating that psychological suffering crosses species lines. Together, the papers provide irrefutable arguments to the growing ethical imperative to end the use of chimpanzees in U.S. research.


For extensive information about how primates are treated in U.S. laboratories, visit Stop Animal Exploitation Now! SAEN.

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