Chimpanzees used in laboratory
experiments have been a hot topic this summer, from the film Rise of the Planet of the Apes
to the National Academy
of Sciences’ Institute
of Medicine hearings on the use of
chimpanzees for experimentation.
a new novel by Neil Abramson, movingly explores the ways in which animals—including
a chimpanzee, Cindy, who communicates with sign language—impact the lives of
the humans who care for and about them.
The novel takes us on the journey of David
Colden, an attorney who is mourning his wife’s death while defending sign-language
researcher Dr. Cassidy, who has raised Cindy from infancy and who will do
anything—including breaking the law—to prevent the young chimpanzee from being
sent to a laboratory.
I wanted to cheer when Colden told
the court: “There was a
crime committed here—but it wasn’t by Dr. Cassidy. The crime is by those who
would torture a thinking, feeling, caring, intelligent creature and expect
others to sit idle amid the torrent of blood and screams.”
In some ways, Dr. Cassidy’s story
mirrors the real life work of Dr. Roger Fouts,
who has spent decades teaching sign language to chimpanzees. Because he doesn’t
“own” all the apes he works with, some of them have been sold to
laboratories over the years, including Booee, whom Fouts, trailed by a 20/20 film crew, visited in a laboratory
years later with heartbreaking
The ensuing public outcry resulted in Booee being sent to a sanctuary.
is available from
by Michelle Sherrow
Article source: PETA Files