Director of Communications
World Lab Animal Day is Sunday, April 24th
Save the Chimps, the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary, recognizes the day to remember the 700 chimpanzees remaining in labs.
Fort Pierce, Fla. (April 19, 2016) World Day For Animals In Laboratories or World Lab Animal Day was established in 1979. It is a day to remember and honor those animals who are awaiting retirement from research laboratories, as well as those who have found sanctuary.
Nearly 700 chimpanzees are still awaiting retirement from research labs. Where can chimpanzees who have been retired from labs go to live out their lives? Unable to survive in the wild, they need a place where they can thrive in companionship with other chimpanzees, naturalistic habitats, state-of-the-art veterinary care, and an enriching environment.
Save the Chimps is the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary. With help from generous supporters, Save the Chimps provides loving care, nutritious food, daily enrichment, and expert veterinary care to more than 250 chimpanzees.
In honor of World Lab Animal Day, we would like to introduce you to Indie, one of the 266 chimpanzees Save the Chimps rescued from the Coulston Foundation, a former biomedical research laboratory with extensive Animal Welfare Act violations in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Indie spent the first years of her life at the now-closed Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in New York state. She was immediately taken from her mother at birth, and at only four months old she endured her first open liver biopsy. She was placed in several studies during her time at LEMSIP, where she was isolated in a 5’ x 5’ x 7’ cage. LEMSIP closed its doors when Indie was 11 years old, and she was transferred to the Coulston Foundation. While at the Coulston Foundation, she was sedated daily, every other day, or weekly. By 1999 she was diagnosed with severe anemia. In 2001, Indie’s anemia became so severe that she had an emergency blood transfusion. Throughout her time at LEMSIP and Coulston, she experienced countless sedations, blood draws, and liver biopsies.
Indie now savors the joys of sanctuary life. She enjoys nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables daily, soft blankets to nest with every night, and a variety of enrichment to keep her mind active. Most importantly, Indie now enjoys the companionship of other chimpanzees – especially her best friend Cayenne. Indie is now living the peaceful and dignified retirement she deserves.
View videos of Indie enjoying companionship and sanctuary life »
Save the Chimps was founded in 1997 by Carole Noon, Ph.D. who was inspired to help chimpanzees after meeting Dr. Jane Goodall in the early 1980s. She received her Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the University of Florida, specializing in the socialization of captive chimpanzees. Save the Chimps was founded by Dr. Noon and Jon Stryker, founder and president the Arcus Foundation, to provide permanent sanctuary to chimpanzees being abandoned by the United States Air Force. The Air Force rejected Dr. Noon’s bid to provide care for the chimpanzees and instead gave them to the Coulston Foundation, a notorious laboratory with extensive Animal Welfare Act violations. Dr. Noon sued the Air Force on behalf of the chimpanzees, and after a year-long legal struggle, the lawsuit was settled out of court in Save the Chimps’ favor. One year later, the Coulston Foundation was facing bankruptcy, and entered negotiations with Save the Chimps to retire the chimpanzees. With generous financial support provided by the Arcus Foundation, 266 chimpanzees were rescued from the Coulston Foundation and now call the 150-acre Save the Chimps sanctuary in Ft. Pierce, FL, their permanent home. Since its founding, Save the Chimps has additionally rescued chimpanzees from entertainment and the pet trade.