Research

Research

Harm and Suffering

Chimpanzee, name unknown, life without dignity
Photo: © Michael Nichols from Brutal Kinship

Chimps in a lab, deprived of all basic needs for their well-being, cannot behave like wild chimps. Those working with them do not, for the most part, want to admit that their chimps are, in fact, quite as remarkable, intelligent, and aware as their wild counterparts. Once admitted, it becomes even harder to treat them as living test tubes. —Reaching Across the Species Barrier: Jane Goodall on Chimpanzees

The suffering of chimpanzees and other animals used for research is not limited to what goes on in actual experiments. Their day-to-day existence in a laboratory is traumatic in itself. Chimpanzees experience ongoing mental and physical suffering from the endless boredom, confinement, and fear and stress of daily laboratory life.

Robbed of their will, some of these highly sensitive individuals suffer emotional breakdowns from which they may never fully recover. Further, psychologists have demonstrated that the psychological suffering endured in labs can become lifelong trauma , even after release into sanctuary. This section addresses some of the routine traumas chimpanzees endure in a laboratory and their far-reaching effects.

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
Has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
The movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

—THE PANTHER In the Jardin des Plantes, Paris Rainer Maria Rilke

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