Thursday, October 24, 2002


Californian Sea Lions Dazzle with Brains
Wed Oct 23, 2:22 PM ET

...A Californian sea lion called Rio impressed American researchers by remembering a complicated trick for 10 years without practicing it once -- a feat they said showed sea lions probably have the best memory of all non-human creatures....

Many other mammals, particularly primates like monkeys and chimpanzees are good at learning tricks, but have trouble remembering them....


Chimp-Care Funds Spending Faces Review
By Rene Romo Journal Southern Bureau

LAS CRUCES The Alamogordo-based Coulston Foundation stopped doing chimpanzee-related research last month, but it is still being scrutinized for its handling of funding for the primates' long-term care.
Attorney General Patricia Madrid's office in late August asked for audited financial reports from the Coulston Foundation to determine what happened to hundreds of thousands of dollars placed in endowment funds for the long-term care of its chimpanzees....
Animal Protection, in a recent news release, alleged that "millions of dollars that could be used to pay for permanent retirement," may have been lost.
On Sept. 5 the Coulston Foundation filed suit to block the attorney general's demand for information. Then, less than two weeks later, the financially strapped Coulston Foundation announced it was getting out of chimpanzee-related research.
It retired its last 266 chimps and turned them over, along with their Alamogordo pens, to the Center for Captive Chimpanzee Care, or CCCC, which is headed by primatologist and animal rights activist Dr. Carole Noon....

Wednesday, October 23, 2002


A bash at Barton G.'s to celebrate new bistro

Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer said it best when he presented a key to the city to event producer Barton G. Weiss at the grand opening of South Florida's newest hot spot, Barton G., The Restaurant.

''The premiere party planner now has a premiere party place,'' Dermer said.

From the moment guests stepped out of their cars at the Miami Beach Convention Center and onto a private bus to shuttle them to the biggest fiesta of the season at the restaurant, they were treated to opulence, decadence and a great time. Greeted by two live giraffes and restaurant mascot Sabrina the Chimp, who was signing autographs, partygoers entered eager to engage in the over-the-top festivities....


Federal Contract Awards Announced for Louisiana Oct. 2-5

WASHINGTON, Oct 21, 2002 (States News Service via COMTEX) -- - The following are federal contract awards in excess of $200,000 announced by the General Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense for companies located in Louisiana Oct.1-5.

...University of Lafayette, New Iberia, won a $22.34 million contract from the Department of Health & Human Services' National Institutes of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Md., for leasing of chimpanzees for research....

Tuesday, October 22, 2002


The American way of snacks
Penthouse Pets, Joker rolling papers and frolicking chimpanzees: At the National Association of Convenience Stores show, it all makes a kooky kind of sense.
By Chad Dickerson

...I end up pulled back even further into the most fundamental of childhood longings -- the dream of having one's own pet chimpanzee. I have just come upon the Too Tarts Candy booth, and 10 feet in front of me, a chimpanzee frolics with his caretakers, a darling young couple.

I watch Too Tarts Jackson -- "the lovable chimp who thinks he's a kid" -- charm the adoring crowd, and I am giggling in delight along with everyone else. He does somersaults. He shakes his head. His caretakers regale the crowd with stories of Too Tart Jackson's high jinks. Too Tarts Jackson is a lovable mess of energy. Too Tarts Jackson has his own kitchen, and boy is it a mess! Too Tarts Jackson once called 911 by hitting a speed dial on the phone. What a mess! When the police found out that it was actually a chimpanzee on the other end, oh, how they laughed and laughed. In the end, they invited Too Tarts Jackson to the police station, gave him a tour, and even gave him an honorary badge! Oh, the antics. I had already scripted a life with Too Tarts Jackson in my head by then, complete with laugh track and monogrammed TTJ sweaters....


Goldmine in the Forest
This Day (Lagos) October 21, 2002

...By the 1980s, it was obvious that Nigeria had lost about 90 per cent of her original tropical rain forest cover to bush burning, logging and other forms of illegalities in the agricultural sub-sector. Rare monkeys like rain forest monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas to mention a few, which abound across the country are daily abused....

Monday, October 21, 2002

Notice the glaring illogic in the researcher's attempt to justify his continued federal grant$.


Searching for Answers
It may play a role in curing human illnesses, but some say animal testing is unneccessary
By Stephanie Weintraub (Daily Texan Staff) October 21, 2002

[Photo] A chimpanzee plays in its [sic] enclosure at the Department of Veterinary Sciences park in Bastrop on Friday. The park is home to chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys and other animals that are part of research projects. Although the other animals are used in tests about cancers and efforts at creating an AIDS vaccine, the chimpanzees are there to provide a population of healthy, normal specimens in case an emergency need arose for them.

On the outskirts of Austin lies a 395-acre animal research facility, which aims to battle deadly human disease....

The Bastrop-area science park, called the Department of Veterinary Sciences, is a satellite of the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, which is recognized by U.S. News and World Report as the top facility of its kind in the country....

The facility houses some 700 Indian rhesus monkeys, which are part of a breeding program and are used for AIDS research. In addition to the monkeys, about 160 African chimpanzees and 30 to 40 sheep, mice and rabbits live at the facility.

"A lot of people say, how can we use an animal because it's not a human," Satterfield said. "Actually, most of what happens in a mouse is the very same thing that happens in us. There are obviously some differences, but the types of research that's conducted at Anderson are looking at the very things that are identical, not the things that are different."

A mouse, he said, shares 75 percent of its DNA with humans, and chimpanzees share 95 percent. Rodents comprise 90 percent of animals used in biomedical research, he added.

The center is attempting to track a vaccine for AIDS, and about 20 of the center's rhesus monkeys are used in ongoing AIDS research. Science has found that chimpanzees are capable of sustaining the AIDS virus but don't get sick....

The chimpanzees and monkeys at the center are housed in outside corrals and cages that are meant to mirror a natural environment....


Chimps free to live in AmCan
Saturday, October 19, 2002
By ROSEANN KEEGAN Register Staff Writer

Monkeys, baboons and any legal, non-domestic animal are now allowed in non-residential areas of American Canyon, following the revision of a five-year-old ordinance, which previously banned wild animals....


Plan submitted for animal reserve in Wikieup
The Associated Press Oct. 19, 2002

KINGMAN - A plan was submitted this week to county planning and zoning officials for a 90-acre sanctuary in Wikieup for abused, injured and abandoned exotic animals.

Wilderness Edge Wildlife Reserve would be a sister organization of the Wildlife Waystation, a 160-acre nonprofit licensed facility for exotic wildlife refuge near Los Angeles....

After the first phase of the project is completed, possibly by next summer, 12 chimpanzees and 20 lions will be transferred to the Wikieup facility from Wildlife Waystation.


The power to protect
Goodall, Bekoff draw blueprint for future of human-animal relations
By Clay Evans, Camera Books Editor October 20, 2002

...Recall Mahatma Gandhi's famous assertion that "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."...

In their new book, "The Ten Trusts," famed biologist Jane Goodall and her friend Boulder animal behaviorist (and former University of Colorado faculty member) Marc Bekoff argue effectively that the world is at a crossroads, and now is the time to develop and engender lasting respect for all living things....

By necessity, a book like "The Ten Trusts" makes a graphic, heartrending case concerning the current plight of animals, whether those raised in hideously inhumane factory farms or poached by greedy profiteers in Africa — and the parallel to human suffering is always near.

"I have seen that appeal for help in the eyes of so many suffering creatures," Goodall writes. "An orphan chimp tied up for sale in an African market; an adult male (chimp) looking out from his five-by-five-foot sterile cell in a medical research laboratory; a dog, emaciated and starving, abandoned by her owner on the beach in Dar es Salaam; an elephant chained to a cement floor by one front and one hind foot. I've seen it in the eyes of street children, and those who have seen their families killed in the 'ethnic cleansing' in Burundi."...

But as Bekoff writes: "As big-brained, omnipresent, powerful and supposedly omniscient mammals, we are the most powerful beings on Earth. We really are that powerful, and with that might are inextricably tied innumerable staggering responsibilities to be ethical human beings. We can be no less."


Out in the forest, something stirs
Oct 17th 2002 | BILI
From The Economist print edition

...In 1908 two apes were shot near a place called Bondo, in northern Congo. Their skulls (and two others found in local dwellings) had the crests characteristic of gorillas, but they were unusual enough for taxonomists of the time to classify them as a separate subspecies. Since then, no further specimens of this subspecies have been recorded. Four years ago, Karl Amman, a Swiss wildlife photographer, took up the quest to rediscover the missing gorillas. What he has found is not yet clear. But it might, just, be a new species of ape....


Coco: 50 years young

Coco ripped into presents and chomped treats straight from the container Thursday at her birthday party, demonstrating the decorum warranted at a toddler's bash.

But the Oregon Zoo's matriarch chimpanzee was turning 50. The zoo's oldest animal, Coco celebrated with dozens of onlookers who ate cupcakes, decorated chimp masks and belted out "Happy Birthday."...

Thursday, October 17, 2002


We're still learning from chimps

Each time we make a discovery about chimpanzees' behavior, researchers realize there are yet more questions to answer.

"We are never going to finish studying chimpanzees," says Elizabeth Vinson Lonsdorf, a doctoral candidate and researcher at Jane Goodall Institute's Center for Primate Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Since we are unable to go back in time to conduct behavioral studies on our ancestors, we study the animal we consider most closely related to us, she says.

"Chimps are not born knowing everything they need to know to survive," Lonsdorf says. "They learn from their parents. If we want to see how human behaviors developed, we can learn so much by studying them."

• Chimpanzees are found in 21 African countries. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were nearly 2 million on the continent; today, there are about 150,000.

• Biologically, chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than they are to gorillas.

• In the wild, chimpanzees live up to 50 years and in captivity somewhat longer.

• At birth, a chimpanzee weighs 2 to 4 pounds. An average adult weighs between 90 and 115 pounds and is 4 feet tall.

• Chimpanzees have longer arms than legs, enabling them to reach for fruits growing on thin branches that would not support their weight. They primarily like to eat fruits, buds, seeds, blossoms, insects and small mammals.

• Like human babies, infant chimpanzees rely on affectionate physical contact for healthy development and are dependent upon their mothers until age 7.

•Grooming is one of the most important social behaviors in chimpanzee communities and helps chimpanzees maintain or even improve their relationships.

• Chimpanzees are able to demonstrate joy and sadness, fear and despair, love and empathy and, sometimes, anger through violence. Primatologist Jane Goodall was among the first to observe wars between chimpanzee groups.

• Chimpanzees do not communicate with speech, but some have been able to learn more than 300 signs in American Sign Language while living in captivity.


EarthLink gets unwanted award
Bill Husted - Staff

EarthLink's latest national award won't wind up in a display case. It's a framed photo of well-used cat litter.

The Atlanta-based Internet provider has received its share of prestigious customer service awards. But PETA, the animal rights group, gave EarthLink an annual Litterbox Award because it is upset about the company's choice of a star for a television commercial. The star was a chimpanzee....

Wednesday, October 16, 2002


CURO offers apprenticeship program

Thirteen University freshmen have been given the opportunity to gain research experience through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO) Apprenticeship Program.

Amy Venable, a freshman from Lilburn, is working under Dorothy Fragaszy, a psychology professor, on a project comparing the abilities of capuchin monkeys and chimpanzees to maneuver through computer mazes....


The Singing Machine Lights up Times Square
Story Filed: Wednesday, October 16, 2002 7:46 AM EST

COCONUT CREEK, Fla., Oct 16, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Singing Machine(R) Company (AMEX:SMD), America's leading seller of home karaoke machines, has joined the visual splendor and advertising mecca of Times Square with a 5,000 square foot dazzling billboard display of its top three products on the exterior of the international flagship, Toys "R" Us Times Square in New York City.

On perhaps one of the brightest blocks of the most heavily trafficked tourist areas in the country, 165 panels in hues of neon orange, green, and blue feature three of The Singing Machine's portable home KaraokeVision machines specifically geared towards music and music video lovers of all ages. The board illustrates a group of well-dressed chimps crooning into mics, crafting home videos and monkeying around with bigger-than-life Singing Machine karaoke products.

The scrolling billboard advertisement can be seen in rotation throughout the day through Nov. 3. "This is a bold step for The Singing Machine as we introduce our 2002 holiday line of home karaoke products," said John Klecha, president of The Singing Machine Company, "and there's no better place than Times Square or Toys `R' Us to launch a campaign of this magnitude." Adding that the "billboard kicks off the company's Fall 2002 advertising outreach which includes a national television campaign based on the concept of the singing monkeys," Klecha said the company "has built a strong reputation as the leader in home karaoke and is thrilled to be taking the category to a new level with aggressive outdoor advertising." ...



Film producer found creative challenge in chimp-human connection
Published Oct 15, 2002 OMNVAR

Mike Day suddenly understood his creative challenge when he had an eyeball-to-eyeball encounter with a wild chimpanzee.

The executive producer from the Science Museum of Minnesota was scouting in Tanzania four years ago for a film about primatologist Jane Goodall's famous studies in Gombe National Park.

Day's crew passed a chimp with its back to the trail. Day, the last person in line, crouched to get a better look.

"He turned around and stared into my eyes," Day said. "There was no way I could look away."

Day was overwhelmed, he said, by the feeling "you are looking into the eyes of a cousin whom you have not seen for 6 million years."...

Monday, October 14, 2002


Research animals felt storm's presence
Louisiana Gannett News Posted on October 12, 2002

NEW IBERIA -- Winds howled and rain pummeled the region last week, but nearly 6,000 animals at the New Iberia Research Center fared well....

Days before Lili roared into the area, workers and researchers at NIRC moved into disaster preparedness mode. The animals at the center, including about 5,000 monkeys and 360 chimpanzees, did pick up on disruption of their routines, Rowell said....

The chimpanzees stay indoors. They were a little more subdued than usual, Fontenot said.

The primates at the center are part of behavioral research that includes measuring physiological responses to different life-altering circumstances. Various projects are ongoing at the same time, Fontenot said.

Some of the animals are part of a breeding colony for private industry and the federal government. Others are subjects of biomedical research, Rowell said....


Earthwatch program stirs monkey business
MARCIA SCHNEDLER Universal Press Syndicate on Sunday, October 13

My anxiety level rose as I glanced at the 14 strangers meeting in the basement recreation room of a university dormitory in bucolic Ellensburg, Wash., 110 miles west of Seattle. At age 59, I was the only old coot in the crowd.

As a birthday present, my husband, Jack, had presented me with a two-week Earthwatch trip to the Chimpanzee and Human Communications Institute (CHCI) at Central Washington University.

I would assist in collecting and entering data on how chimpanzees use enrichment activities and items like toys, cardboard boxes and sweatshirts provided for them each day. The goal is to find out which are most beneficial for them and other captive apes like those in the Arkansas zoo where I volunteer. I also would help prepare meals, clean the chimps' nighttime living quarters and lend a hand in other projects....


2 chimps belong to Weber
By ANDREW WOLFE, Telegraph Staff

NASHUA – A judge on Friday ordered the owner of the Greenville Wildlife Park to give up custody of two young chimpanzees, finding that they belong to the owner of the Lowell Spinners baseball team.

Drew Weber sued the Greenville Wildlife Park and its operator, Glen Eldridge, seeking custody of the chimpanzees, Arthur (also known as Ennio) and Phoenix, and charging that Eldridge wasn’t properly caring for them....

Weber did not attend the hearing, but his lawyer, Tammy Richardson of Boston, said he wants the chimpanzees transferred to the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston until their ownership can be finally resolved.

Weber ultimately wants the chimps placed in a Florida sanctuary, having given up on the idea of having them trained to perform at ballgames, Richardson said....

The two chimps came from the Coulston Foundation of Alamogordo, N.M., a controversial, now-defunct chimpanzee research lab.

Some 266 chimpanzees were transferred to the Center for Captive Chimpanzee Care in Fort Pierce, Fla., after the Coulston Foundation shut down last month, according to reports by various animal advocacy groups.

Animal rights advocates had long protested the foundation’s use of chimpanzees for medical and scientific research, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture both had cited the facility for violations concerning its care of chimpanzees in recent years, according to both agencies’ Web sites.

Weber claims he paid the Coulston Foundation $67,500 for the two chimps, then infants, in March and April 2001....

Both sides agreed that Sid Yost, a Malibu, Calif., animal trainer, was somehow involved in arranging to get the chimps from Coulston, and that Eldridge drove to New Mexico twice to transport each chimp.

Yost himself bought three other baby chimpanzees from Coulston in February, paying $30,000 each, according to Eric Kleiman, director of a California animal advocacy group, In Defense of Animals....

Thursday, October 10, 2002



Michael Jackson's former brother-in-law has claimed that the singer used to abuse his pet chimpanzee, Bubbles. [Photo: Bubbles & Jackson]

Jack Gordon, the ex-husband of Michael's sister LaToya, makes the sensational accusations in a new book about the Jackson family.

Gordon, who is yet to find a publisher for the book, says that Jackson - who denies all the allegations - regularly abused his beloved ape and that he killed another monkey in a voodoo ritual.

He says: "I saw Michael punch bubbles, kick him in the stomach. Michael used to say, 'He doesn't feel it. He's a chimpanzee. I have to discipline him."...


Even Goodall's chimps have a Web site now
Sharon Schmickle Star Tribune
Published Oct 10, 2002 CHI10

Fifi gazes calmly from the screen, serene in her role as the matriarch of the chimpanzees that wildlife biologist Jane Goodall introduced to the world. In sharp contrast, Fifi's son, Frodo, bares his teeth as a chilling reminder that the alpha male can be a menace to chimps and humans alike.

The famous Goodall chimps are making a new nationwide debut this month, orchestrated by the Science Museum of Minnesota and University of Minnesota scientists who follow in Goodall's footsteps.

Through a Web site, wide-screen film and classroom materials, biology students and chimp fans can meet the animals and track research that today makes use of such high-tech tools as DNA analysis, satellites and global positioning devices....

Fifi, Frodo and 13 other Goodall chimps are the stars of the Web site, which takes viewers to Tanzania's Gombe National Park, where Goodall launched the research in 1960.

The site also introduces a new crop of chimp scholars who use the university as a research base because it houses 320,000 pages of records that have been restored and cataloged at the Jane Goodall Institute's Center for Primate Studies on the St. Paul campus....

Too sad.


Brandweek Magazine,
Published: October 7th

Tools of the Trade--This Spokeschimp Really Puts the Monkey in Too Tarts' Business

Using monkeys to win hearts isn't novel, but Too Tarts Jackson just might be unique enough to eventually rank with Cheetah, Bonzo and Lancelot Link in the chimp hall of fame.

For one, his adoptive parents didn't raise him as a pet, but more like a human child, and never once caged him. Plus, he's the new spokeschimp for Too Tarts. "Within a year, I don't think there will be a household in the U.S. that hasn't heard of Jackson," said Armand Hammer of Too Tarts maker Hammer Corp.

Saving him from being sent to a lab, Ben and Rachel Gunter got Jackson from an animal refuge at 3 weeks old, brought him home to Dallas where he has his own Curious George-decorated room, a dog and an electric car. He takes showers and brushes his teeth and likes to watch Scooby-Doo, go to the park and the movies, and is learning sign language and "chimpanese"--sounds that he and Mrs. G. use to communicate.

And he likes crowds. He regularly visits hospital patients and was at a recent raucous Wal-Mart corporate meeting where he planted a kiss on one of the execs. He can also eat Too Tarts sour flavors with a straight face.

Hammer is in the process of buying a bus, "just like the rock stars have," to set Jackson off on a U.S. tour. Talk shows are interested in booking him, and he'll show up at store openings, trade shows and charity events. Marketing plans include a Too Tart Jackson music video and a special on-pack decoder so kids can speak chimpanese. A TV commercial featuring the Too Tarts Jackson jingle could be in the works next year.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

If only their mothers had legal standing to seek custody of the babies who were stolen from them...


Training of Lowell Spinners chimps prompts suit
By KATE MUNRO Union Leader Correspondent

NASHUA — Arthur and Phoenix, two chimpanzees living at the Greenville Wildlife Park, are the center of a custody battle and a lawsuit filed at Hillsborough County Superior Court last week.

Diamond Action, Inc., of Lowell, Mass., the owner of the Class A Lowell Spinners baseball team, is suing the Greenville Wildlife Park for custody of the two chimps, a male and a female, who are each a little over 2 years old.

Diamond’s president, Drew Weber, wants immediate custody of the two chimps, but Judge William J. Groff denied a motion to turn them over immediately. The judge will hear arguments on the case tomorrow.

According to court documents, Weber owns the chimps, having paid $67,500 for them from a company in New Mexico. He turned over their care to Glenford Eldridge, of Blanch Farm Road, Greenville, one of the owners of Greenville Wildlife Park. The two made a “verbal agreement” that Eldridge would train the chimps to do tricks at the Spinners games and he would keep half the proceeds from the chimps’ performances.

In the complaint, Weber claims that the chimps are not being well cared for and are not being trained.

Weber alleges that the chimps spend all their time indoors with little or no human contact; they lack water in their cages; their apartment is infested with flies; and that Arthur has had three respiratory infections and is overweight while Phoenix, the female chimp, is underweight. Phoenix weighs 29 pounds while Arthur weighs 55 pounds, according to depositions submitted to the court....


Chimps semi-retired
Hundreds of chimpanzees sent to sanctuaries could continue to serve researchers | By Harvey Black

Two recent transfers of custody mean that nearly 500 US research chimpanzees will soon be enjoying a leisurely schedule and comfortable living conditions in non-profit sanctuaries.Their freedom to roam and socialize, however, will make them prime subjects for behavioral researchers, and a legal catch means that some chimps could still be recalled for biomedical research....

Tuesday, October 08, 2002


Great apes fall victim in headlong drive to mass extinction

Every single species and subspecies of great ape on the planet now teeters on the edge of dying out, part of the acceleration of the dinosaur-style mass extinction now under way.

In all, 11,167 species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction...

Also grave is the situation of the 13 species and subspecies of great apes: chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans.

Apes are genetically the most similar to humans, making up -- with humans -- the taxonomic family Hominidae. The new findings mean that humans are the only species in the family that are not endangered.

Primates have been vaulted into danger of extinction only in the past three decades as their tropical forest homes have fallen to loggers, Dr. Mittermeier said. Before that, they were plentiful.

The IUCN's Mr. Steiner said he is optimistic that humans, the cause of the problem, can also come up with a solution....


At Canadian resort, Flyers learn about bonding
By Tim Panaccio Inquirer Staff Writer

...Chances are, you won't see Flyers equipment manager Turk Evers on Animal Planet any time soon. For some reason, wild animals don't like him. Not that long ago, Evers introduced himself to "Jack the Chimp," and the skating chimp tried to bite him....

Monday, October 07, 2002


N.C. Zoo welcomes, houses five chimps from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago

ASHEBORO - Five chimpanzees from the Lincoln Park Zoo arrived this week at the N.C. Zoo where they will be housed for 18-24 months while a new exhibit, the Regenstien Center for African Apes, is under construction at the Chicago zoo.

[Photo] HOME AWAY FROM HOME - Bill Allen, right, a member of the primate staff at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, comforts one of that zoo's five chimpanzees as it [sic] arrives this week at the N.C. Zoo.The chimps relocated here while their new $25 million primate facility is being constructed in Chicago.

The chimpanzees, one male and four females, arrived Wednesday via truck and are being housed at the N.C. Zoo's new mammal propagation facility....


OFFICE ADDRESS: Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases/AMOB, 10401 Fernwood Drive MSC 4811 Room 2NE70-A, Bethesda, MD, 20817
AWARD AMOUNT: $22,344,000.00(Base year with 9-12 month options)
AWARDED TO: University of Lafayette New Iberia, LA

Which of our other horrible weapons of war are being inflicted on these innocents?


Ebola Vaccine Will Enter Human Trials Within Months
Thu Oct 3, 5:47 PM ET By Alicia Ault

WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - A vaccine against the Ebola virus should move into human clinical studies within the next 6 to 8 months, a National Institutes of Health official said Thursday.

Addressing reporters here at a meeting of the World Medical Association, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said that studies testing the vaccine in chimpanzees had recently been completed, clearing the way to start safety trials in healthy human volunteers.

Fauci said the Ebola research had been able to move ahead quickly partly because of the post-September 11 multi-billion dollar infusion of funds to combat bioterrorism. Ebola was moved ahead in the research queue because "it was one of the high impact, likely probability microbes" that might be used in a bioterrorism attack, Fauci said....

Friday, October 04, 2002


Animal Tales: A chimp happy ending
By Alex Cukan
United Press International

More than 40 years ago, America was celebrating its seven Mercury Astronauts who were chosen to ride the first of the country's rockets high above the atmosphere, but the real pioneers of the space program were not men but chimpanzees....

As the human space program got fully under way, the astronauts received heroes' welcomes, but the "chimponauts" and their non-flying fellow chimpanzees were assigned by the Air Force to "hazardous mission environments," including being the subjects of seat belt development.

Over time, the Air Force switched to crash dummies and stopped using the chimpanzees. In the 1970s, it released several for biomedical research purposes....

"Chimp Haven is a start, but here are about 1,700 chimpanzees in research laboratories nationwide and most will have to be taken care of," Rowan said. "While animals in other lab experiments may be euthanized after the research is over, the National Institutes of Health has determined that because chimpanzees as so close to humans 'euthanasia is not a management option.'"

Many chimpanzees remain confined in laboratory facilities -- mostly in 5-foot by 7-foot cages -- because there are no other places for them.

According to Rowan, no one knows how many chimpanzees are being held in privately but he estimates there could be as many as 2,000, while according to other estimates about 200 might be employed in entertainment....

Wednesday, October 02, 2002


Hope for great apes in the Congo

[Photo] Chimpanzee baby.

Gland, Switzerland - The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to more species of great apes than any other country in the world, with two of them (Grauer’s gorilla and the Pygmy chimpanzee or bonobo) found nowhere else. However, civil conflict and political instability have left the Congolese national parks network in a state of dereliction. Gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos receive little protection across most of the country and remain under constant threat from hunting and habitat destruction. As a result, many biologists fear great apes may become extinct in DRC, and indeed the rest of Africa, within the next 20 years.

But hope is in sight. From 26-28 September, nearly 200 experts from all parts of the country joined international conservationists and government Ministers in Kinshasa to prepare the first National Great Apes Survival Plan for DRC....


Chimps do not ape culture: discuss
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor (Filed: 02/10/2002)

Experts will today debate whether chimpanzee traditions such as Masonic-style handshakes, mutual back scratching and smashing nuts with hammers make up as real a culture as human art, music and poetry.

If the public meeting in London, backed by the British Academy and the Royal Society, agrees that chimpanzees are part of the cultural domain it may trigger a rethink of mankind's evolution, putting more emphasis on society and less on genes.

The research that prompted the meeting was conducted by Prof Andrew Whiten, of the University of St Andrews, and an international team who uncovered evidence of more than 40 different traditions, covering aspects of tool use, "rain dancing", communication and grooming rituals....

Tuesday, October 01, 2002


A Courtroom Champion for 4-Legged Creatures

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Among the high-flying lawyers who roam the halls of Harvard Law School, Steven M. Wise, 51, is an oddity. Instead of devoting himself to the fine points of torts or contracts, he teaches the school's first ever course in animal rights law.

Moreover, Mr. Wise, who runs a small law firm that litigates for the interests of animals, has written two well-reviewed books on the subject, "Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals" and the recently released "Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights."

Mr. Wise spends much of his time trying to develop legal theories to advance his cause. "Almost all my work is directed toward breaching the legal wall that separates humans from nonhumans," he said over coffee at the Charles Hotel. "I'm interested in getting the first nonhuman animals their rights because I think once that happens the paradigm will shift. I'm very practical about this. It's going to take a while."...

Q. Would you give us the outlines of arguments you've pioneered?
A. I've been trying to apply those traditional sources of our most basic rights — liberty and equality — to nonhuman animals. I've argued that some of them are entitled to basic legal rights for the same reasons humans are.

The first, the liberty argument, is that some nonhuman animals — great apes, African gray parrots — have a kind of autonomy that judges should easily recognize as sufficient for legal rights.

The second is an equality argument. It goes: Because some individuals have rights, others who are like them must be allowed rights too. A human infant who is born without a brain has all kinds of liberties, even though she isn't autonomous. You can't kill her, enslave her or perform experiments on her. If you can give her rights, the principle of equality requires us to give them to a bonobo who has high levels of cognition, a great deal of mental complexity and who probably has a protolanguage....

Q. How will the rights of animals change as our definition of what is an animal changes because of gene manipulations, hybridizations and xenografting?
A. That's a big question. At the moment, only humans bear rights, but soon we'll be wondering, What is a human?

I've often speculated on what we would do legally if we suddenly found a holdout band of Neanderthals who'd survived in some hidden part of Andalusia. Would we consider them Homo sapiens and thus rights-bearers or would we define them as animals and, therefore, things? Would we do to them what we do to chimpanzees — eat them, perform tests on them, put them in zoos?....


Recognizing a near relation
Chimps get a retirement home and support for rights
By David Arnold, Globe Staff, 10/1/2002

CAMBRIDGE - They feel love and loss. They can paint, communicate in sign language, and fight. And they share 98.7 percent of human DNA.

Yet chimpanzees have fewer rights than a brain-dead human. Thousands of them are used in medical research, kept in zoos, or work in circuses, with no law protecting them from being euthanized when their work life is over.

But in a sign of how attitudes toward nonhuman primates are changing, the federal government announced plans yesterday for an unprecedented retirement home for 800 chimps formerly used in research. On the same day, eminent researchers and lawyers held a first-ever meeting at Harvard Law School on how to give chimps more legal rights, including status that might get them out of the labs and animal acts altogether.

''Legal rights grow out of wrongs,'' Alan Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard, told several hundred people in Ames Courtroom in Austin Hall yesteday. ''And there is no question that this animal has suffered pervasive wrongs over many centuries.''... least for now.


For Chimps, Some Space To Live Out Golden Years
La. Retirement Sanctuary to House Ex-Research Animals
By a Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 1, 2002; Page A19

[Photo] A $35 million retirement facility is planned for chimpanzees such as Doll and Alvin, who were used by the United States in biomedical research.

Finally, after more than four decades of public service, it's retirement time for Rita.

The 47-year-old chimpanzee, brought to the United States from Africa by the Air Force in the 1950s, is a prime candidate for a new retirement home to be built near Shreveport, La....

"After these chimpanzees have endured years in medical research laboratories, society owes them a tremendous debt," said Larry Hawk, president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Proponents of the project said it will save taxpayers money in the long run because the cost of keeping chimpanzees in research labs is about double the cost per animal of harboring them in the sanctuary. According to chimpanzee advocates, there are 1,300 to 1,600 federally owned or supported chimpanzees in biomedical laboratories, including 600 to 900 who are eligible for retirement because they are no longer used for research.

Most of the federally owned chimps are kept in labs in Georgia, Louisiana, Texas [2], New Mexico and Arizona. Fewer than 40 are in the Washington [D.C.] area [2], and none of those are now eligible for retirement because they are still being used for research into infectious diseases, said John Strandberg, director of comparative medicine at NIH's National Center for Research Resources.

Chimpanzees have been used to develop a vaccine for hepatitis B and for research into the virus that causes AIDS. Starting in the early 1980s, they were "aggressively bred" in the United States for AIDS research, but they turned out to be of limited use because they did not get sick from the virus, Brent said.

Among those formerly used for breeding is Rita, who was one of the original chimps brought in by the Air Force for the U.S. space program. She was kept at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico until 1969, then sent to a lab in San Antonio.

"She's real pretty," said Brent, who works at the lab.

Since the animals, an endangered species with a lifespan of up to 60 years, are not euthanized or used for "terminal studies" that can result in their death, many live out their days in 5-by-5-foot cages, she said.

"Some of them have never climbed a tree or walked on grass before." For them, Brent said, the sanctuary means "giving back to the chimps a little bit of their own natural history."