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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

The Defender
Vol. 3, No. 1 - Spring/Summer 2004

Who Are Peppy, Beanie, Helen & Igor?

During late March I had the opportunity to speak at the bi-yearly members meeting of the International Primate Protection League (IPPL). This meeting is held at IPPL headquarters in South Carolina, which is also home to a ten-acre sanctuary where 33 gibbons are cared for by IPPL staff.

Speaking at the members meeting was a wonderful experience. The attendees were very interested in the primate experimentation issue. Helping them to see the reality of life inside a research facility was very important.

However, I must say that the most touching part of participating in this conference was having the opportunity to meet the gibbons who live in the sanctuary. I met Michael, Elizabeth, Beanie, Courtney, Helen, Peppy, Igor, Shanti, Arun Rangsi, and all of the other gibbons at IPPL. Many of these animals were imprisoned within laboratories at one point during their lives.

Now they have been given the gift of a second start. While they can never return to their natural home in the wild, IPPL is clearly the next best thing. They are cared for by a dedicated staff. The gibbons are fed fresh fruits and vegetables three times a day. They have plenty of room to swing through their cages, almost as though they are in their native trees. They have cage mates with which to form relationships. If you are a gibbon living in the human world, IPPL is the place to be.

Several of the gibbons at IPPL bear the scars of imprisonment within a laboratory. Peppy sucks his thumb, and Igor rips out his hair and bites himself when he sees other gibbons, so he is kept in a remote area of the property but he enjoys the company of IPPL’s dogs. Beanie is blind and suffers from epilepsy. But the caretakers at IPPL do everything possible to make Peppy, Igor, Beanie, and all the other gibbons happy and healthy.

For someone like me, the IPPL sanctuary presented a truly unique opportunity. For probably the first time I had the chance to see animals that had escaped the torture of the laboratory. Looking into the eyes of these gibbons, seeing their intelligence and emotions is an experience that I will never forget.

We frequently speak about huge numbers like the 96,000 primates that are currently imprisoned in U.S. labs. I constantly read research protocols from primate experiments and primate necropsy reports. In all of these documents primates are little more than numbers. This visit to IPPL allowed me to see individual animals who had been released from the horror that we call primate experimentation. For me, these anonymous primates now have faces and names.

From now on, whenever it becomes difficult to continue the struggle against animal experimentation, all I have to do is remember the lucky gibbons at IPPL. I have had the privilege of seeing the faces of those we fight for. I will always remember Igor, Beanie, Helen, Peppy, and all the others. My only hope is that our work at SAEN can add to the numbers of primates who have been liberated from imprisonment in laboratories.

Who Are Peppy, Beanie, Helen & Igor? They stand for the 96,000 primates who are living and dying in labs as you read this article. They leave no doubt that there is no such thing as a good animal experiment – that all animal experimentation must be ended. They are the living proof that our work is worthwhile.

If you would like more information about the International Primate Protection League, their web address is www.ippl.org .


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