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It’s always inspiring to see justice play out before your eyes! After two years of negotiating for the release of captive chimpanzees, it has been decided that the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) of the University of Louisiana will finally retire 220 chimps, including the famed Hercules and Leo, who have been the focus of much media coverage. All of these lucky chimps will be heading to the Project Chimps sanctuary in Georgia. NIRC plans to retire the chimps gradually over the course of a few years.

Organizations like the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), who have being fighting for Hercules and Leo’s rights for years, celebrated the release, while recognizing the need to continue fighting. “The NhRP intends to do everything possible to ensure that humans and human institutions are never again able to imprison and exploit self-aware and autonomous beings like Hercules and Leo,” said NhRP President Steven M. Wise.

This is no small feat. Both Hercules and Leo are almost ten years old and have been imprisoned for more than half their lives. They spent six years at Stony Brook University, where scientists were studying the evolution of upright walking in humans. This meant these chimps were deprived of their natural homes and underwent painful and inhumane treatment.

Eventually, Stony Brook decided to end testing and transferred the chimps to the New Iberia Research Center, one of the largest and most notorious medical testing facilities. There have been documented cases of extreme abuse, such as an employee of the center hitting a restrained monkey with a pipe and another smacking an infant monkey in the head. When Stony Brook transferred them to NIRC, the research center had agreed to send them to Save the Chimps. According to NhRP, however, NIRC was “acting in bad faith,” and the chimps were instead held captive in New Iberia’s research facility. In other words, Hercules and Leo were imprisoned once again.

Chimps are so similar to us and deserve to receive basic rights and respect. Sharing 90 percent of our DNA, chimpanzees are incredibly intelligent and loving. They form deep family bonds, communicate with each other, and utilize tools. How can we justify the decision to imprison these individuals? Hint: we can’t.

We are so excited that these chimpanzees will finally get the freedom they so desperately deserve. After years of torture, it’s about time that institutions treat chimpanzees as the sentient, emotional, and intelligent beings that they are.

While this is incredible news, the fight is not over. Thousands of chimpanzees and other animals are currently being used around the world in the name of scientific research and testing. We’ve got to keep fighting! To support the incredible work of NhRP, visit their page and consider making a donation to support their litigation efforts.

Featured Image Source: Flickr

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39 comments on “Victory! Hercules, Leo and Over 200 Other Captive Lab Chimps to be Retired to Sanctuary”

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Jacqueline Parker
1 Years Ago

Good news!


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Katie Needham
1 Years Ago

Yes, ELF is pretty good and affordable. Walmart sells it.


Reply
Carolina Castro
1 Years Ago

Everyone...don't stop fighting against cruelty, against genocide, against greed. Don't stop signing petitions, sending emails, and advocating for what is right. No matter what other tell you, you KNOW you can change this world. No matter what some tell you, you KNOW you are part of the eradication of cruelty, eradication of evil, and defending life. You KNOW you are strong...you see it every day. Stick to your plan, with the eye on the ball, and never give up, because the world is yours, ours, and we are making it a better place for everyone. Love.


Reply
Carolina Castro
1 Years Ago

Remember to buy Vegan AND cruelty free products. You can also make your own. Make up like this - and on the cheap side - is "e.l.f." and "Pacifica". Buy them online or Target.


Reply
Jeannie Robinson
1 Years Ago

Bless them..


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Sandra Ross Lozowicki
1 Years Ago

Somebody has been working hard and has done a wonderful wonderful thing for these animals. Thank you to the non-human rights organization!!


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Chris Lent
1 Years Ago

So thankful for their release to a life all animals deserve.


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Sharon Toscano
1 Years Ago

Wonderful news!


Reply
Joyce Dade
1 Years Ago

A great day of VICTORY and TRIUMPH for CHIMPS! BLESSED CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL.


Reply
Sue Drew
1 Years Ago

YES!!!


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