Nature: Chimpanzees - An Unnatural History
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In 1959, the United States Air Force captured dozens of baby chimpanzees in Africa, transporting them to Alamogordo, New Mexico, where they and their offspring were to endure a grueling life as the ultimate human stand-ins. From experiments in space travel and high-velocity crash tests, to pharmaceutical testing and hepatitis and AIDS research, to roles on the silver and small screens, these original Air Force chimpanzees and others that followed gave their lives to benefit humankind. Now, a few extraordinary people are working to give those lives back. Emmy Award-winning producer Allison Argo (Extraordinary Dogs) narrates this compelling and powerful program that witnesses the efforts of rescuers at sanctuaries Fauna Foundation, Save the Chimps, and Center for Great Apes to see that the traumatized residents they have saved from a life of confinement and suffering can finally be allowed to live and feel like chimps.
"Touching and persuasive." -- Anita Gates, The New York Times
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Originally airing on PBS, "Chimpanzees - An Unnatural History" is exactly what you would expect from a PBS Nature Series.
This video introduces you to the unsung heroes in our history.
The history of chimps in our society is a history unlike any other. We have sent them into space, dressed them in costumes and demanded that they entertain us. Some have been adopted into human families until they “outgrew” their cuteness (When chimpanzees become 8-9 years of age they become too strong to be handled by humans and often end up dumped in horrible "roadside zoos" or biomedical laboratories), many have been used to test our drugs or to help develop our vaccines, others have been infected with our most frightening diseases. While we are mesmerized by their likeness to our species and we have continually found uses for chimps, we never considered what they wanted or needed.
But their side of the story is starting to emerge. And it can be heard at the sanctuaries where many retired chimps now reside. It can be read in their medical records, seen in their mutilated bodies, or sensed through their psychological afflictions. We’ve had a conflicted relationships with chimps in our society but there are some people who want to simplify it. Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History will introduce you to the rescuers at sanctuaries like Fauna Foundation, Save the Chimps, Center for Great Apes. And they are determined to see that the traumatized residents they have saved from a life of confinement and suffering can finally be allowed to feel like chimps. (Please visit Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest to discover the importance of retiring chimpanzees to a life in sanctuary : [...]
The CHIMP Act of 2000 established the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary System for chimpanzees retired from use in research. Chimp Haven operates this sanctuary system through a public-private partnership. “The chimpanzees at Chimp Haven have spent their lives in research laboratories helping to improve the lives of all Americans,” McCrery said. “Many of our discoveries in space and medicine are due to chimpanzees. I am proud to help modify the existing law to ensure chimpanzees at Chimp Haven will spend their final years happily.
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How callous we are with life.