sunday night's show was, for me, painful to watch and left me feeling quite moved and shocked. it was about one of my favourite animals, the chimpanzee. this animal has fascinated me for a long time. sharing so much of the same dna as we do and being the sentient and highly intelligent social animal that it is, this primate is the closest living relative to humans that we know of. for some reason, i always feel i am looking into a part of ourselves when i look into the eyes of these wonderful creatures. i think this fact made it all the harder for me to watch the show.
long has [irresponsible] science felt that an animal is just an animal and does not "feel" the same way we humans do with regard to emotions and pain. this has sometimes provided license for all kinds of horrid experiments which, in the end, leave such animals to live out a miserable existence until the time of their demise.
this week's nature episode was called chimpanzees: an unnatural history. the hour long show outlined how chimps have been used for all types of scientific research and how the results of this experimentation have led to their current plight. now, don't get me wrong. i understand the issue of using animals for scientific research and am not vehemently opposed if it can save scores of people from dying horrible deaths. to sacrfice an animal in order to find a cure is not what i take issue with. i find it incomprehensible and unconscionable that animals such as chimpanzees which are in danger of becoming extinct in the wild have been used in such great numbers to be infected with diseases such as hiv and hepatitis and then left to live out their lives in a prison, essentially and literally, behind bars in a space that is unnatural and inhumane. this is cruelty. in a certain experiment they talk about in northern new york state, the chimps were infected and then the experiment was cancelled leaving these animals hiv positive for no good reason.
a few days ago i posted a video which was, in a way, a foreshadowing of this topic. it is a satirical short video [see 2nd video of vegan madness] of how humans are basically monkeys.
on the positive front, i was happy to learn that in my country and in fact, my own provice not far from me, is a woman [gloria grow] and her husband [dr. richard allen] who have dedicated their lives to helping these animals. can you imagine such a job as your life's work? their site is called the fauna foundation. they have also set up another [co-] foundation to help fund their efforts where you can actually "adopt" one of these animals, called... what else? adopt a chimp.
there are some very short videos on the pbs site about the documentary. it is very moving and provides you with the background behind the making of the this show.
having had the chance to listen to jane goodall and actually meet her and have her sign the book i purchased when she gave a lecture here, i feel people like her and all those others who are making efforts to protect the disappearing primates we share so much with should be mentioned. once these animals are gone, they are gone forever. visit her site [see previous link] for lots of information, videos and free screensavers such as the picture below.