The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary

The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary

A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery

Book - 2011
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In 1997 Gloria Grow started a sanctuary for chimps retired from biomedical research on her farm outside Montreal. For the indomitable Gloria, caring for thirteen great apes is like presiding over a maximum security prison, a Zen sanctuary and an old folks' home all rolled into one. But she is first and foremost creating a refuge for her troubled charges -- a place where they can recover and begin to trust humans again.

Hoping to win some of this trust, journalist Andrew Westoll spent months at Fauna Sanctuary as a volunteer, and in this book he vividly recounts his time in the chimp house and the histories of its residents. He arrives with dreams of striking up an immediate friendship with the legendary Tom, the wise face of The Great Ape Protection Act, but Tom seems all too content to ignore him. Gradually, though, old man Tommie and the rest of the "troop" begin to warm towards Westoll as he learns the routines of life at the farm and realizes just how far the chimps have come.

Brimming with empathy and winning stories of Gloria and her charges, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an absorbing, big-hearted book that grapples with questions of just what we owe to the animals who are our nearest genetic relations.

Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins Canada, 2011
ISBN: 9781554686490
Branch Call Number: 636.9885 WES 2011 22
Characteristics: 268 p. : ill

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j
jhanzen
Jun 08, 2016

"One Chimp is No Chimp." This quote from the book says it all. I discovered this book at the Library book club reading list and picked it up to join in on the discussion. Well, let me tell you I did not anticipate what I was in for. This biography on the lives of lab chimps in rehabilitation at the Fauna Sanctuary was so impactful that I decided make changes in my life as a response. I shop for products that have the "animal free testing" label. And support businesses that have eco-friendly practices. These are not just animal rights issues, it degrades humanities relations and thus effect our own heart to heart connections. We must do something in our lives to defiantly protest the apathy in our cultures. Social acceptance does not constitute what is right. (In my opinion, large scale commercial animal agriculture is even a human rights violation. You don't have to be a vegetarian, there are so many choices available to us now.) Chimps of the Fauna Sanctuary is a must read for anyone who wishes to actually use their conscience and stand up for the morals of humanity!

m
maxmillan
Jan 29, 2013

They should make this into a movie to reach a wider audience to incite the politicians to close down these labs. And take the profit to retire the chimps.

smc01 May 08, 2012

I loved this book. Andrew Westoll tells a compassionate and honest story about the chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, and the life they endured in research before they were sent to Quebec. He certainly desrved the Charles Taylor Prize.

chberard Mar 15, 2012

Finally a book that sustains my interest! (The first one in the last 6 months) Andrew Westoll is an amzing storyteller. No wonder he won the Charles Taylor Prize.

s
sschwartz
Dec 07, 2011

What a horrible species we humans are but luckily, not all of us! And thankfully, not Gloria from the Fauna Santuary. What a wonderful place that exists here in Canada. A must read!!!

hilarymh Jul 24, 2011

A fascinating book, well researched and beautifully written, but also heart breaking and appalling. It exposes how cruelly we treat such wonderful creatures and how dedicated people at the sanctuary coax them back from the dark places they had been inhabiting. Unbelievable that while most countries have banned experiments on chimps the USA still condones the practice.

It taught me a lot about resilience and the capacity to trust after traumatic times.

debwalker May 28, 2011

"What do you get when you take a baby away from its mother a few hours after birth and raise it in isolation, adding physical abuse that stretches on forever, all in the name of biomedical research?

The bad news is that, whether the baby is human or chimpanzee or probably anything else, the damage is lasting. The hurt done can never be fully healed. The good news is that some of us are trying. We are working with damaged human children and adults as well as damaged individuals of other species. One of us (let's try to look at this collectively, since we are all complicit in the damage) is doing it right this minute on a farm in Quebec."

Linda Spalding
Globe & Mail May 27 2011

f
feyfriend
May 11, 2011

Excellently done book. Choosing a wise way to approach a difficult subject, Westoll focuses on the the lives of thirteen individuals saved from research & zoos. By witnessing through him, their shattered selves and slow recovery, we see the importance of getting GAPA (Great Ape Protection Act) passed. Somehow, for such a grave topic, Westoll manages to slip in some humor (both human and chimp) to keep a balance. I am giving it a second reading right away... I just can't leave them yet.

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