Friday, June 10, 2011

The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery; Andrew Westoll

Title:  The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery
Author: Andrew Westoll
Publication Year: 2011 
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Edition: review copy
Source: Amazon Vine
Date Completed: 6/5/2011 
Setting: Canada
Rating: 5/5
Recommend: yes

A true story, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, serves as permanent retirement home for chimps which were used in biomedical research and experimentation.  The sanctuary,founded in 1997,  is located on a 240 acre farm outside of Montreal. It's founder Gloria Grow originally used a portion of the property as a dog rescue refuge for puppy mill dogs.

The author Andrew Westoll, hoping to gain more knowledge about how the chimps transitioned from the research labs, and often cruel experimentation, to life at the sanctuary, volunteered to help out there.  A few of the heartbreaking things he discovered were: baby chimps were removed from their mothers right after birth; chimps were injected with deadly viruses; chimps were subjected to unnecessary surgeries and forced to live without socialization. Would the chimps ever be able to trust humans once again, after all they had been through?

The stories about the chimps told of their lives before and after medical experimentation. They were sometimes difficult to read, yet they were told in a sensitive manner.  It was amazing to me that despite what some of these chimps had been though, some were able to recognize and respond to the kindness of their human caregivers, and were able to show compassion toward other chimps as well.

The US is the only remaining country to allow biomedical research on chimpanzees, and attempts have been made to pass The Great Ape Protection Act, to end this cruelty.

I was happy to have read this eye opening book, and I now have much respect for both the sanctuary's founded and the author, for giving this issue more much needed attention.  Their auctions were clearly a labor of love and a commitment to a cause. 

This book is a must read for individuals who are concerned about animal welfare and animal rights.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book, will be given to Fauna Sanctuary.


  1. It sounds like a practice the US should stop. I'm always amazed at the resiliency of animals.

  2. I'm an animal lover so this book sounds right down my alley. I had no idea that a refuge like this existed!

  3. I'm very happy there is such a wonderful place like that out there. Sounds like a must read for me!

  4. I am so grateful for people who dedicate their lives to such a cause. Chimps are intelligent, social animals and deserve better than to be used and abused in a laboratory setting. Thanks for reviewing such an important book.

  5. I don't know if I could read this book, but I'm glad the chimps stories are being told. Is there a site to sign a petition to try and help ban this cruel practice?

  6. I also don't know if I could read this one. The plight of the chimps in this story would make me so upset. I think testing on animals should be banned completely. It's totally inhumane. Great review on this one.

  7. I am so glad you reviewed this. I very much enjoy reading non-fiction centered on animals; from your description I gather that some parts might be hard to read, but it definitely sounds like something that I want to try.
    I wasn't aware that the US was the only country left to use chimps for research.

    Great review Diane!

  8. Oh dear, what a book! Thanks for this review, I am still speechless...testing on animals is so WRONG.

  9. Sounds like an interesting read on a controversial subject.

  10. This sounds like it might be a very emotional read. let's hope that act gets passed soon.

  11. My whole life long, I've championed the interests of the great apes and marvelled at their resilience in the horrific circumstances humans create for them. This story offers further testament to their individual strength and singularity. Thanks so much for reviewing this book; I'd love to read it one day too.

  12. This sounds an amazing read and yes, it sure would be eye-opening to say the least!

  13. This will be such a hard book for me to read. I can't stand to read about animals suffering. But I think it is an important book to read so I will add it to my list.

  14. I was always feel bad for animals used for experimentation. It's a great thing that such a sanctuary exists. We are often so insensitive to animals - just because they are not humans doesn't mean that they don't feel at all.


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