This article may be redundant after reading The Abstraction of Beasts, but Science Daily website had an article recently that explored self awareness among rhesus monkeys long believed to lack the self awareness that chimpanzees have. Self-awareness puts these primates closer to human beings on the ladder of the animal kingdom. It turns out research’s favorite victim, the rhesus monkey, is also self-aware.
Just knowing this should put a pause in these researcher’s minds. We know how highly intelligent primates are, and that they know when they are indeed looking at themselves in a mirror. Yet we continue to do research on them and even when the animal becomes too old or frail, fail to at very least release the primates to sanctuaries. No wonder the primates in cages in Sagan’s essay “The Abstraction of Beasts” spit and scream at researchers as they walk by. They are like inmates at the will and mercy of humans but have done absolutely nothing wrong to warrant such a life.
A foundation called SAVE THE CHIMPS is also calling attention to the practice of just abandoning and forgetting about former research victims. Save the Chimps foundation states: “Their mission is to provide permanent sanctuary for the lifelong care of chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, entertainment and the pet trade.”
My thought is that if we respected all life and as a country that professes so much about freedom would see that the freedom for all species to flourish in their natural environment should be a goal for the sheer preservation of all the varied species, we wouldn’t need sanctuaries like this.
It’s ironic to me that it is all right to make animals succumb to being victims of heinous research facilities, animals that do not smoke, drink, do drugs, eat horribly unhealthy, never exercise or knowingly commit dreadful crimes, but not humans even though the research is supposedly for human beings.
Like Sagan’s argument that because an animal does not speak our specific language, we automatically assume they are of lesser intellect and lesser value than we are who do smoke, drink, do drugs, eat horribly unhealthy, never exercise and knowingly commit dreadful crimes. What value do we really put on life that we would do detrimental things to ourselves and expect animals who do not do these types of things to give their lives unwillingly in order to keep us living?
We’re long overdue for stricter animal rights and a good kick in our conscience. At very least the animals that have been victimized should be released immediately into sanctuaries as some small repentance for what we’ve done and continue to do.
Email your rep and tell them you want them to move the Great Ape Act forward and pass it into law to protect this humanlike animal once and for all.