News & Alerts

July 2012 News - Remembering Pepper



We share with you the sad news of the death of our longtime friend Pepper, 42, who died last week of kidney failure at Fauna Foundation Sanctuary in Canada. Surrounded by her beloved family and friends, both human and chimpanzee, she comforted and was comforted by her loving community through her final hours.

In her 27 years in research, Pepper endured—in one lab alone—307 knockdowns, 36 punch liver biopsies, 1 open wedge liver biopsy, 6 cervical biopsies, 10 lymph node biopsies, and 4 bone marrow biopsies. Only after her rescue by Fauna Sanctuary was the anxiety that had become so much a part of her personality quelled with kindness and tempered by her natural sweetness, intelligence, loyalty, and strength.

PepperEvery day, Pepper would enjoy her hot tea time, taking her cup to an isolated place and quietly looking out over the open fields and forests. She loved to play with the hose and to sweep up little piles of trash very neatly into paper cups for the Fauna staff to throw out. Curious about how things are put together, she liked to take things apart—and then politely hand to staff the pieces of wood or screws that she’d removed. 

During the summer, Pepper spent her days and early evenings outdoors, looking for things to pick from the chimps’ vegetable garden, discovering the edible treats that grow naturally, or sitting in the sun full face to feel its warmth or under the shade of a tree, delighting in the breeze. Many nights, she would take a pile of blankets to her favorite spot in the skywalk, make a beautiful and comfortable night nest and, serenaded by the frogs and crickets, sleep peacefully beneath the stars. She fully embraced the joy of her new life and cherished everyone with whom she shared it. 

PepperNow, Pepper will forever know peace. All of us at NEAVS offer our deepest condolences to our human and chimpanzee friends at Fauna on the loss of dear Pepper—a loss that stings us all. She has left us all richer for knowing her and for sharing in that far too short time she was given to be free to be no one other than Pepper. 

Remembering the lab cage which she and others endured, brings shivers up your spine. That disturbing memory of what life had been like for Pepper brings renewed commitment to fulfill our promise. We will work until every chimpanzee still held captive in labs will, like her, have their turn to feel safe and free.

We send our love and gratitude to Fauna and to all sanctuary staff everywhere for the care they give. 

NEAVS is honored to have provided lifetime support for Pepper and we will continue that tradition in her memory. Pepper was the inspiration for NEAVS and Fauna to join efforts to establish a lifetime care fund for Pepper and all the other chimpanzees who endured and survived those lab cages. Members wishing to honor Pepper with a memorial gift can do so through NEAVS’ sanctuary fund and Fauna Foundation’s Lifetime Care Fund. Please mark your donation, In Memory of Pepper.


Will Tuttle, speaker, musician, and author of Amazon bestseller The World Peace Diet, will present a lecture and performance Friday, July 20, at The First Religious Society (UU), 26 Pleasant Street, Newburyport, MA. A vegan reception will begin at 6 PM, with the lecture and Q & A to start at 7 PM.

Will is a recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award and has devoted a long career to teaching and promoting compassion, intuition, and altruism. A vegan since 1980 and Dharma Master in the Zen Buddhist tradition, his mission is to bring a message of radical inclusion to our culture.


Cruelty-Free InternationalCruelty Free International is working with The Body Shop customers in the U.S. to call for a ban on cosmetic testing on animals worldwide.

CFIA global pledge to ban animal testing for cosmetics launched July 5 at The Body Shop stores across the U.S. as part of a campaign by Cruelty Free International (CFI), the first global organization dedicated to ending the use of animals to test cosmetic products throughout the world. NEAVS is the U.S. Executive Office for CFI, and our staff is visiting stores throughout New England in support of The Body Shop’s efforts to gather millions of signatures from customers who are committed to a cruelty-free world.

The pledge will be available at The Body Shop stores in 65 countries—the U.S. pledge runs from July 5th – August 5th so please visit your local Body Shop and SIGN ON!!!! With an estimated 275 million visitors yearly to The Body Shop stores, CFI hopes to gather a million signatures this month alone. Help us send a clear message to U.S. regulators that the time has come to end animal testing for cosmetics in the U.S. and throughout the world!


SEMAIn another indication that chimpanzee research will one day end, Bioqual, a Rockville, Maryland independent research facility, has ended its 30-year run of chimpanzee use in drug testing. 

Formerly known as SEMA, the facility was the subject of a 1997 undercover investigation by PETA. Following the release of footage that documented the horrendous conditions and treatment endured by chimpanzees at the lab, Jane Goodall joined efforts to call for the closure of the lab.

Recently, a Petition for Enforcement Action was filed with the federal government, claiming that Bioqual was unlawfully placing chimpanzees in solitary confinement and using them in unnecessary experiments. The Petition asserts that the chimpanzees were suffering physical and psychological harm in violation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

Encouraging news of the termination of the chimpanzee program is tempered by the return of the chimpanzees to the New Iberia Research Center where they were born.  New Iberia was the subject of a 2008 undercover investigation by HSUS, which resulted in USDA inspectors finding the facility in violation of six provisions of the AWA. In 2011, HSUS filed legal petitions requesting investigations into government contract fraud. 

As more and more private labs end their use of chimpanzees, the financial gains to facilities like New Iberia diminish. NEAVS/Project R&R has shown that chimpanzee use is unethical and unscientific. It is now time to focus on making it a financial disaster for facilities like New Iberia to continue to house and maintain them. Without a market, lab directors will be motivated to give them up. 


Researchers at Marymount University, University of Alabama, and Manhattanville College found that opposition to animal testing is increasing, especially among women and young people.

The authors reviewed Gallup polls regarding animal use in medical research, drawing data from 2001 and 2011. 

Opposition to animal use was greatest among women with 52% opposing animal research and among young people, with a 25% increase in opposition from 2001 to 2011; in 2011, 59% of teens and 20-somethings opposed the practice.