Monday, July 25, 2005

The Monkey Retirement Home

On October 24, 2000, as Bill Clinton's last days in office wound down, a bill was passed in Congress. You probably didn't hear about it but you are paying for it.
Senator Bob Smith (R-NH), along with 4 U.S. Senators, introduced the Senate version of, the "Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection Act." S. 2725 on June 13, 2000. During his introduction of the bill, on the Senate floor, Senator Smith said "This is the humane, ethical, and fiscally responsible way to handle the question of what to do with a surplus of intelligent animals who have contributed to the knowledge of science and the health and well-being of humanity." This bill had 24 cosponsors. On September 20, 2000 the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved S. 2725 by a unanimous voice vote.
It appears that there are a lot of chimpanzees that are "retiring" from their lives in the science labs and they needed a place to go. So our government created a "rest home" for these animals that sounds pretty nice. According to a sister site to Touchstone Magazine, we discover that:
Chimp Haven is a $30 million, 200-acre facility and will serve as a template for the nationwide "system of sanctuaries" mandated by Congress to accommodate the country's growing number of surplus chimpanzees. The retirment home features in-house veterinarians, behaviorists, enrichment specialists, and daily caretakers, as well as fresh running water and cross-ventilation, multiple windows and skylights, hammocks made of neatly crosshatched sections of used fire hose, bedding of warm blankets and hay, vanity mirrors, TVs, VCRs, and DVD and CD players. Interestingly enough, while chimpanzees in the wilderness are now officially designated endangered, those in captivity are not, each chimp costing American taxpayers $10,000 a year to maintain.
So, in an age where our senior citizens struggle to get by on reduced Social Security and fight to afford health care and drugs, we would rather cater to a luxurious lifestyle for monkeys. I guess if you believe these animals are our long-lost relatives, it makes sense to treat them even better than we do our own.

No comments: