Tom, 43, is a gifted medic, focused, intent, compassionate and thorough as he treats infections and lacerations in this community of damaged souls just outside Toronto. Despite a lifetime of poor health and an almost certain early death, his kindness, gentle care and fatherly attention are respected by all who know him, and his strength in the face of a lifetime of obstacles is a testament to human resilience.
Tom is a chimpanzee.
So is his neighbor, the beautiful, silver-haired Chance. Born to a mother who was deliberately exposed to HIV — by someone she knew and trusted — Chance herself managed to escape infection, but not before she had suffered five years in solitary confinement until tests could confirm her health status.
She loves games and enjoys playing practical jokes, but Chance has very few friends. She sometimes screams uncontrollably and spins in circles when she hears loud noises.
Rachel, abandoned at age three by the only father she ever knew, plays with dolls and loves beautiful clothes and jewelry. Rachel is also irreparably psychologically damaged by years of confinement, loneliness, and unnecessary surgical interventions, imposed against her will. Transpecies psychologist Gay Bradshaw speculates that severe PTSD, anxiety, anti-social behavior and relentless inner turmoil impact every resident in this type of community.
For more on this issue, view The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery , the story of author Andrew Westoll’s five months spent living with and serving this community of survivors just outside one of Canada’s most cosmopolitan cities. Its an incredibly hopeful book with lots of happy endings . . . and a few not so happy. He discusses the Great Ape Protection Act, cites Andrew Knight’s 2007 paper titled “The Poor Contribution of Chimpanzee Experiments to Biomedical Progress“, and quotes virologist Beatrice Hahn stating that “95% of the experiments done with [chimps] are not necessary.” See extending “human” rights. More here about animal law.