Sunday, November 04, 2007

author Ginny Rorby's message regarding Washoe

This morning Ginny Rorby, author of Hurt Go Happy, sent out a message to her fans, "Dear sweet Washoe died, but she was one of the few lucky chimps whose life was full of love instead of pain". Washoe, the chimpanzee who grew up learning American Sign Language from the scientists who adopted her, dies at age 42 on October 30th after a short illness. (Click here for the NY Times article)

On her website, Ginny Rorby explains part of her inspiration for the book Hurt Go Happy came from a newspaper:
"In it was an article about Jane Goodall, who has dedicated her life to studying and protecting wild chimpanzees. On the same page was another story by the same feature writer, Bob Tutt. It was about Lucy, a chimpanzee raised as if she were a human child—a story that has haunted me ever since. Lucy is the real life Sukari. What happens to Sukari happened to Lucy. So, although this is a work of fiction, little of it is untrue.

All the chimpanzees that you see as cute babies in commercials, or in movies, or in circus acts end up grown and unwanted. If they were raised as Lucy was, loved and cared for, eating her meals at the same table as her “owners,” then the tragedy of being unwanted is compounded, more so because Lucy used sign language. She could communicate her feelings, her love, and her pain. The kindest thing we can do for chimpanzees is to protect them in the wild, stop using them in senseless commercials and stupid movies and stop locking them in small cages to use like hairy test tubes.

Our DNA is 98.4 percent identical to that of chimpanzees. You can help by supporting the people who are working to protect our closest relatives."

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