Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1999]
The Air Force owns 143 chimpanzees who are members or descendants of the original colony of chimpanzees used in space exploration. The chimpanzees are currently leased to The Coulston Foundation, a biomedical research facility where many questionable chimpanzee deaths have occurred. The Coulston Foundation is currently under investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
The Air Force is planning to relinquish ownership of the chimpanzees and is now considering bids from interested parties. Among the bidders are several groups who want to place the chimpanzees in retirement sanctuaries where they can live out the rest of their lives in peace. One such group is the Institute for Captive Chimpanzee Care which has
We, the undersigned, ask the Air Force to give all
Origins: The petition is real. It's also useless in the way nearly all
If you're tempted to add your name to such an online endeavor in the misguided belief you're striking a blow, forget it — all you will achieve is the further clogging of the Internet. Petitions such as the one above make it appear sweeping changes can be effected if only enough signatures are gathered, glossing the reality that all the good intentions and righteous indignation in the world won't put needed funds on the table. Especially in this particular case, it is a question of money — millions and millions of it, cash that will have to come out of somebody's pocket if these chimps are to have the retirement this petition calls for.
First, the details: The Air Force gave up the chimps in 1998 — 110 to the Coulston Foundation (a research facility that has leased many of these chimps for the last
The question of what to do with the space program chimps isn't a new one — the Air Force has been wrestling with it for years, never coming up with a satisfactory answer that would lead to the honorable retirement of these pioneers. In 1992 a committee was unsuccessful in persuading Congress to retire the chimps with an endowment sufficient to ensure their care. At that time the price tag was $37,000 per chimp, for a total of
Primarily Primates survives on donations,
At present, Primarily Primates houses only 10 of the space program veterans it persuaded the Air Force to give over to them; the other 21 remain with Coulston until such time as the sanctuary can build enclosures to house them. The 10 Air Force chimps now in its care live in an enclosure built for a group of chimps that was coming from a Louisiana lab that closed. Those chimps were bumped to another sanctuary to make room for these 10 space chimps.
Primarily Primates needs
Bottom line: Altruism is cheap; results are expensive. If you want to help, affix your signature to a check, not to an
Barbara "Bonzo goes to
Last updated: 3 August 2011
Bingham, Larry. "Space Chimps Seeking a Friendly Place to Land." The Times-Picayune. 17 January 1999 (p. A1). Broughton, Philip Delves. "Protests Over New Home for Space Chimps." The Daily Telegraph. 8 August 1998 (p. 12). Cardwell, Cary. "Sanctuary to Help Space Chimps Retire from Labs and Enjoy Nature." The Houston Chronicle. 23 August 1998 (State; p. 1).