Book Review: The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary

Hey guys. Recently I read a book that touched me far more than most books do. I am easily influenced by books and movies, so after reading or watching something I always have a new passion, or want in my life however, this book was even more gripping on me. Throughout this book I both laughed and cried, and it gave me a great insight into something that I knew nothing about. This book is about Chimpanzee's that were in labs getting hundreds of different procedures and drugs shoved at them and how they got to their retirement and sanctuary at Fauna Sanctuary.
First off, I would like to give a huge congratulations to the writer Andrew Westoll for being able to convey his and everyone around him's feelings. Not many writers can do this with such an insight as Andrew has done. I don't think this book could have been written by anyone else and still portrayed such a chilling and memorable story. I also think that it was great of him to actually live at the sanctuary for multiple months to actually experience the Chimpanzee's and their lives. A lot of writers will research through talking to people but would not dedicate their lives as much as Andrew has. He has another book called 'The Riverbones' which I am very interested to read.
As for the book, it tells you the stories of the Chimpanzee's lives before Fauna and also once they arrive. You hear about the multiple medical experiments they have been put under, the countless abuse they have received from humans in the name of science, the psychological problems that these chimps have all gotten after living for years in these places. Chimps are removed from their mothers after a few days if they are lucky, many are taken straight away. They are in tiny cages suspended in the air, with only a hanging tire as a form of 'enrichment' for them.
Then they are saved, and they arrive at Fauna who strive in every way possible to make the lives of these great animals better. They have a lot of enrichment items, they can go outside and feel the air on them, they have a choice in the food they eat and overall, they can actually interact with other chimps and live in social groups.
I don't want to ruin the book too much so I don't want to say much more about it, but I have saved several quotes from the book as they really stood out to me.
'That when presented with the closest thing to freedom they'd ever known, Tom, Rachel, Regis and Jethro had done everything they could to act like human beings.' This was when they got out of there cages and actually tried to clean the floors, dishes and oven with cleaning products as they had seen the humans do countless times before.
'Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: "because the animals are like us." Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is: "Because the animals are not like us." Animal experimentation rests on logical contradiction. - Charles R. Magel'
'Pepper had been in that cage for fourteen years and she'd never, ever been touched.'
I hope you understand from this post what my thoughts are. This book is a must read for everybody in my opinion. Usually I would recommend books for only animal lovers as they would be the only ones to grasp the concept of a book regarding animals, but I truly believe that this is a book that everyone should read. It will touch anyone. It has made me want to research more about animal testing, and really understand what happens behind those closed doors. To be honest, I haven't even really thought about it til reading this, and now I want to start the fight toward freedom for a lot of these animals. If you do one thing this year, read this book.

All photos in this post are from the website.


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