January 24, 2007 • Posted in Project R&R News
Boston, MA—January 24, 2007—Heartbreaking and sobering news brought sadness but renewed commitment to Project R&R’s Elder Campaign. Gwen, believed to have been the oldest chimpanzee held in a U.S. laboratory, died in November, 2006; she was 54 years old when she was finally released.
Tragically, she died just four short weeks after being released from New Iberia Research Center and placed at Chimp Haven the week of October 16. Little was known about Gwen except her age, ID number—Ch 428—and the fact that most if not all of her life was spent in a laboratory.
Project R&R is working to contact legislators on behalf of the remaining Elders now held in U.S. labs. In the weeks ahead efforts to outreach to the public for their support for our campaign to release all the Elders will be fortified.
Project R&R is committed to working for the Elders’ immediate release into permanent retirement, so that these individuals who have spent most or all of their lives in laboratories can enjoy the relative freedoms sanctuaries can provide—including blankets, fresh air, sunshine, enrichment and peace—for whatever time they have left.
The American public supports these efforts with 71% agreeing that chimpanzees who have been in research for 10 or more years should be released. Our focus, at this time, on the Elders is a triaged rescue effort. Their needs are immediate and urgent, and their time limited.
Remembering Gwen and how she was offered too little, too late, reminds us that the time is now…for not only the rest of the Elders, but for all chimpanzees in all U.S. labs.