Target: Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD
Goal: Release chimpanzees from cruel lives in captivity.
Stony Brook University currently holds two male chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo, in captivity for use in research. Chimpanzees are incredibly complex members of the primate family. With almost 99 percent shared DNA, our closest relatives in the animal kingdom are smart, social, and deserve lives free of physical and emotional captivity.
In the wild, chimpanzees live in large communities, demonstrate sophisticated intelligence and tool use, and even display altruism. They are communicative and emotional animals with complex social structure and the ability to empathize. Lives spent in cages under laboratory conditions are devastating to these highly-developed creatures.
The National Institutes of Health commissioned a study in 2010 on the matter of captive chimpanzees for research. Their findings led to the following conclusions about the use and treatment of these animals,
“1. That the knowledge gained must be necessary to advance the public’s health;
2. There must be no other research model by which the knowledge could be obtained, and the research cannot be ethically performed on human subjects; and
3. The animals used in the proposed research must be maintained either in ethologically appropriate physical and social environments (i.e., as would occur in their natural environment) or in natural habitats.”
The Stony Brook chimpanzees are privately owned, which means that the university is not subject to these federal welfare guidelines. Instead it is thought that the pair originates from a research facility known for abuse and neglect. A Humane Society investigation of the independent facility believed to be the owners of the chimpanzees uncovered numerous examples of physical and psychological abuse.
Recently, New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe ordered Stony Brook to appear to make their case for keeping Hercules and Leo captive. Now is the time to remind the university that chimpanzees do not deserve to be subjected to cages and laboratory conditions. They are too emotionally complex and social to thrive or in some cases even survive in such conditions. Demand that Stony Brook University release Hercules and Leo to a sanctuary where they can live their lives free of the emotional and physical trauma of laboratory captivity.
Dear Mr. Stanley,
Chimpanzees are highly intelligent, emotional, social animals with a developed ability to communicate. They should not be held captive for research purposes. In the wild, chimpanzees live in large groups and maintain complex social relationships.
In 2010 the National Institutes of Health commissioned a study into the keeping of chimpanzees for research. The results led to NIH guidelines that call for cessation of chimpanzees as research animals except in rare cases where there is absolutely no alternative and the outcome will directly benefit human health advancements. Further, the NIH conclusions assert that chimpanzees who must be held for research should be allowed to live in habitats closely resembling their natural environment.
Chimpanzees are some of our closest living animal relatives and deserve lives of dignity. Public outcry and now the pressure of the New York Supreme Court have spoken. The time has come for you to release Hercules and Leo to sanctuary.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Sergio Morchon