Release Chimpanzees Held Captive in Research Lab


Target: Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD

Goal: Release chimpanzees from cruel lives in captivity.

Stony Brook University currently holds two male chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo, in captivity for use in research. Chimpanzees are incredibly complex members of the primate family. With almost 99 percent shared DNA, our closest relatives in the animal kingdom are smart, social, and deserve lives free of physical and emotional captivity.

In the wild, chimpanzees live in large communities, demonstrate sophisticated intelligence and tool use, and even display altruism. They are communicative and emotional animals with complex social structure and the ability to empathize. Lives spent in cages under laboratory conditions are devastating to these highly-developed creatures.

The National Institutes of Health commissioned a study in 2010 on the matter of captive chimpanzees for research. Their findings lead to the following conclusions about the use and treatment of these animals,

“1. That the knowledge gained must be necessary to advance the public’s health;

2. There must be no other research model by which the knowledge could be obtained, and the research cannot be ethically performed on human subjects; and

3. The animals used in the proposed research must be maintained either in ethologically appropriate physical and social environments (i.e., as would occur in their natural environment) or in natural habitats.”

The Stony Brook chimpanzees are privately owned, which means that the university is not subject to these federal welfare guidelines. Instead it is thought that the pair originates from a research facility known for abuse and neglect. A Humane Society investigation of the independent facility believed to be the owners of the chimpanzees uncovered numerous examples of physical and psychological abuse.

Recently, New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe ordered Stony Brook to appear to make their case for keeping Hercules and Leo captive. Now is the time to remind the university that chimpanzees do not deserve to be subjected to cages and laboratory conditions. They are too emotionally complex and social to thrive or in some cases even survive in such conditions. Demand that Stony Brook University release Hercules and Leo to a sanctuary where they can live their lives free of the emotional and physical trauma of laboratory captivity.


Dear Mr. Stanley,

Chimpanzees are highly intelligent, emotional, social animals with a developed ability to communicate. They should not be held captive for research purposes. In the wild, chimpanzees live in large groups and maintain complex social relationships.

In 2010 the National Institutes of Health commissioned a study into the keeping of chimpanzees for research. The results led to NIH guidelines that call for cessation of chimpanzees as research animals except in rare cases where there is absolutely no alternative and the outcome will directly benefit human health advancements. Further, the NIH conclusions assert that chimpanzees who must be held for research should be allowed to live in habitats closely resembling their natural environment.

Chimpanzees are some of our closest living animal relatives and deserve lives of dignity. Public outcry and now the pressure of the New York Supreme Court have spoken. The time has come for you to release Hercules and Leo to sanctuary.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sergio Morchon

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  1. Experiments on primates may happen in universities all over the world but it does not necessarily mean they are the right thing to do. Particularly since there are masses of alternatives now, as every lab may be aware… ‘Tradition’, however useless, is easier, of course; and budget problems are being evoked to avoid modern methods. There NEVER is absolutely no alternative; so don’t give me that. Universities should be places of learning, not torture chambers!

  2. Manel Dias says:

    I wonder why these so called University researchers are ALWAYS counting the dollar and the profit, before the lives of innocent Animals.This type of Animal abuse should never happens within the education systems. It is outrageous & infuriating. Please release these TWO primates to be the way they were born to be. To live a free life without horrible pains & sufferings. These two chimpanzees are obviously had undergone more than enough cruel experiments, inflicted by the subhumans in those Universities. World has such modern technologies by the greedy humans mentality has not grasped any modern ideology. Those animal experiments are done through spending the Tax Payers money. STOP this thuggery act carrying out in the Universities while torturing the wild animals giving misinformation to the public to believe that they are doing the research. No animal experiments can compatible to Human experiments. If you need to find cures for humans then experiments on HUMANS. Send this two helpless chimpanzees to an ac-credible sanctuary to live their final stage in their lives with freedom without horrible sufferings through the hands of your evil humans.

  3. No animal should be subjected to pain and torture at the expense of man. Labs need to be shut down and funding stopped. These abusers belong in jail.

  4. Just bloody well F OFF with ALL this barbaric, massively desensitized ‘research’ on animals already!!! You may have been brainwashed from childhood into believing you even have any RIGHT to use and subject living beings to such torment as you so wish, and just because you have the brawn to do so, but you’d be morally and substantively DEAD WRONG! You pseudo-science researchers make me FURIOUS!!! Use your OWN kids for this depraved BS if you think it’s so benign and ethically fine! There is ALWAYS another “alternative” available, if you want to find it. But you’re all sick in the head!!!

  5. Nena Miller says:

    How many petitions must we sign to have human beings realize that they have NO right to impose experimentation on animals. These animals are very intelligent, have family structure, have emotion and are probably mentally ill and depressed because of humans and what has been done to them. They really need to be allowed a life, a life of enrichment and socialization. I am sure that whatever torture is being imposed upon them is not worth whatever lame conclusions they are coming to. Like the experiments with tobacco and animals wow they found it is addicting and not good for their health. News flash! So just let them go to a sanctuary let them have a life.

  6. NO ONE USES ANIMALS IN RESEARCH ANYMORE! IT’S USELESS AND NEEDLESS! WE HAVE ALTERNATIVE HUMANE METHODS FOR RESEARCH NOT USING ANIMALS! Use human-based methods such as medical simulation, which is documented to provide equivalent or superior training compared to the use of animals. Make the switch to SIMULATION. Chimpanzees deserve retirement from life in laboratories and a chance to live the rest of their lives filled with peace, enrichment, and the company of other chimpanzees — they deserve it! Let’s do this for them.

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