July 1, 1998
Chimpanzee Divestment Officer
8005 Ninth Street
Brooks Air Force Base, TX 78235-5353
Re: Retirement of Air Force Chimpanzees from Duty
It is my understanding that the Air Force is currently evaluating proposals for the divestiture of 142 chimpanzees, which have served the U.S. armed services as participants in flight research experiments.
As a civilian with great respect for our armed forces and the protection they provide, may I respectfully submit my proposal for their handling. Like other animals who have served in military service I've read about, may I suggest that these animals be "honorably discharged" and, as world-renown primatologist Jane Goodall has suggested, they be permitted to retire to a primate retirement/rehabilitation sanctuary.
Sir, it would be a great disservice to these chimps, who have served the military and thus the country for so many years, to hand them over to a research facility where the animals could be used for invasive experiments and restricted from socializing with their own kind for possibly the remainders of their lives. I have read numerous articles about military dogs and birds (especially in World War II) who were "honorably discharged" and "retired" following their service to our country. They were recognized for having contributed to the effort and were rewarded for it. All I am asking is that you recognize these chimpanzees in the same way.
I thank you for your time in reading and considering my request. Further, I ask you to remember that these animals were not voluntary recruits; they were drafted or born into service. Wouldn't it be wonderful to finally give them the freedom that we took away? That's what our armed services fight for, right? Freedom.
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