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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, an old folks’ home, and a New York deli during the lunchtime rush all rolled into one. But she is first and foremost creating a refuge 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, an old folks’ home, and a New York deli during the lunchtime rush 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, the journalist Andrew Westoll spent months at Fauna Farm as a volunteer and 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 toward Westoll as he learns the routines of life at the farm and realizes just how far the chimps have come. Seemingly simple things like grooming, establishing friendships and alliances, and playing games with the garden hose are all poignant testament to the capacity of these animals to heal.  Brimming with empathy and winning stories of Gloria and her charges, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an absorbing, bighearted book that grapples with questions of just what we owe to the animals who are our nearest genetic relations.


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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, an old folks’ home, and a New York deli during the lunchtime rush all rolled into one. But she is first and foremost creating a refuge 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, an old folks’ home, and a New York deli during the lunchtime rush 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, the journalist Andrew Westoll spent months at Fauna Farm as a volunteer and 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 toward Westoll as he learns the routines of life at the farm and realizes just how far the chimps have come. Seemingly simple things like grooming, establishing friendships and alliances, and playing games with the garden hose are all poignant testament to the capacity of these animals to heal.  Brimming with empathy and winning stories of Gloria and her charges, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an absorbing, bighearted book that grapples with questions of just what we owe to the animals who are our nearest genetic relations.

30 review for The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Years ago I lived a long time in a populous third-world country. I remember saying to a friend living in the U.S. that a focus on animal rights seemed a distraction in view of human living conditions around the globe. She gave me a look I can still see to this day and have thought about many times since. "Why are we more important than every other living species?" and "What would our lives be like without other species?" she could have asked. There is no doubt in my mind that we must be more min Years ago I lived a long time in a populous third-world country. I remember saying to a friend living in the U.S. that a focus on animal rights seemed a distraction in view of human living conditions around the globe. She gave me a look I can still see to this day and have thought about many times since. "Why are we more important than every other living species?" and "What would our lives be like without other species?" she could have asked. There is no doubt in my mind that we must be more mindful of species living on the planet around us and treat each with great care and respect. That is also the theme of this fine documentary about research chimps living out their final days on a farm in Canada. Westoll was a scientist first, but changed his focus to writing later in his career. He urges us to look at the evidence and acknowledge that we have a duty to restrict testing of animals in the name of science. And he urges us to insist Congress pass the Great Ape Protection Act (GAPA) which has been on the roster for discussion and passage for years now. Once again we lag behind other Western nations who long ago restricted the use of primates for research. Apparently studies using primates have determined that primates are sufficiently different from humans as not to be of great use in providing useful information for medical use. But the studies continue, Westoll suggests, perhaps because they are so lucrative to the grantees receiving federal monies. In the meantime, social animals of great intelligence and emotional range are subjected to lives of captivity and the cruelties of isolation, are introduced to disease and treated with disregard. This story tells us mostly of what it is like to live with the animals now, their research days behind them (several were smuggled out of research facilities by sympathetic caregiver scientists). One is struck anew how little we know, and how barbaric we seem. Surely groups of disenfranchized over the years should have taught us how cruel and thoughtless we seemed before finally recognizing their rights (the poor, women, blacks). This is not a screed, nor a diatribe. It is a man reflecting on meeting some unusual characters who have a history, and with our help, a future.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I love learning while reading and this book has added greatly to my knowledge. Prior to reading it, I had no idea that Canada has a sanctuary for chimpanzees. It is in the province of Quebec. And I was not aware that in the United States chimps are used in studies and tests, undergoing numerous biopsies, injections and operations. Using chimps for these studies and tests has been proven to be unnecessary. There is so much more. Thanks to Canadian narrative journalist and author Andrew Westoll fo I love learning while reading and this book has added greatly to my knowledge. Prior to reading it, I had no idea that Canada has a sanctuary for chimpanzees. It is in the province of Quebec. And I was not aware that in the United States chimps are used in studies and tests, undergoing numerous biopsies, injections and operations. Using chimps for these studies and tests has been proven to be unnecessary. There is so much more. Thanks to Canadian narrative journalist and author Andrew Westoll for writing THE CHIMPS OF FAUNA SANCTUARY: A CANADIAN STORY OF RESILIENCE AND RECOVERY and for including the eight pages of photos. Before becoming a writer, Westoll trained as a primatologist in the South American rainforest, where he studied wild troops of capuchin monkeys. In 1997 Gloria Grow rescued thirteen chimpanzees from a research lab and brought them to a rural sanctuary in Quebec where they could be cared for and loved. Andrew Westoll spent months at Fauna Sanctuary as a volunteer caretaker and recounts his adventures in the chimp house and the heart wrenching histories of these chimpanzees. Through Westoll's eyes, we witness the chimps' remarkable recovery firsthand. I highly recommend this nonfiction book and give it 5 rejuvenated stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

  3. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    I had absolutely no idea that less than 500 kms away from me, in the cold and wintery province of Quebec, there are living a whole bunch of traumatized chimpanzees who have suffered beyond belief under the hands of researchers and lab techs conducting experiments which ultimately led to basically nothing to advance human health. I'm already an animal rights person. I'm a paying member of PETA. I've been vegetarian for 28 years. I'm raising three kids who have never tasted meat. I would never wea I had absolutely no idea that less than 500 kms away from me, in the cold and wintery province of Quebec, there are living a whole bunch of traumatized chimpanzees who have suffered beyond belief under the hands of researchers and lab techs conducting experiments which ultimately led to basically nothing to advance human health. I'm already an animal rights person. I'm a paying member of PETA. I've been vegetarian for 28 years. I'm raising three kids who have never tasted meat. I would never wear fur, and I buy only cruelty-free body products, etc. And yet I had absolutely no idea that a) chimps have been so widely used in medical research, and b) that a handful of these martyrs live less than 500 km away from me. Gloria Grow and her incredible sanctuary is providing a service I'd never considered: a place for these tormented beauties to try to collect themselves, experience love and calm, before they pass away. It's a very touching book, very heartfelt and wondrous. The dedication of Gloria and her team is monstrous. Ape sized indeed. I'm exceedingly thankful for what she has done and offers. She's amazing; I could never pull off what she does. I'm going now to her website to see what she needs and how I can help. Thanks to author Andrew Westoll for bringing the world this story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    James Creechan

    This is a wonderful book and a relatively quick read. The author was trained as a primatologist in the South American Rainforest where he studied wild capuchin monkeys. But in this book, he worked as a volunteer for a year in a Canadian sanctuary for chimpanzees who had been rescued and released from Medical research laboratories (private and government( in the United States. He was invited into the Fauna Sanctuary outside of Montreal by Gloria Grow who established this refuge and is its princip This is a wonderful book and a relatively quick read. The author was trained as a primatologist in the South American Rainforest where he studied wild capuchin monkeys. But in this book, he worked as a volunteer for a year in a Canadian sanctuary for chimpanzees who had been rescued and released from Medical research laboratories (private and government( in the United States. He was invited into the Fauna Sanctuary outside of Montreal by Gloria Grow who established this refuge and is its principle driving force. Westoll tells the story of Gloria and her family and many volunteers who are dedicated to giving these primates a peaceful place to live out their lives, and he tells the story of the movement to ban medical experimentation and drug testing on a captive population of primates numbering in the 10's of thousands who are locked in cages and inhumane conditions. But, Langston's story is mostly about the 13 individual chimps that he came to know and understand over a year. Along the way, he describes the tragedy that each of those 13 chimps went through and how their road to recovery was never going to be fully complete and satisfying. There can be no happy endings when creatures have been treated so badly in the name of science and commerce. But, everyone at the sanctuary — and anyone who reads this book— will come away with a greater appreciation for how chimps are much like us and yet are so different from us. The final sentence of the Afterword describes the soul of this book "But for those left behind, a small measure of solace might be found in the lessons that the chimps of Fauna Sanctuary have been teaching Gloria for more than a decade now: that no matter what kind of trauma we've been through, we all have the capacity to recover and help others heal". This book is a well deserved award winner of the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction (Canada). The author is one of a number of wonderful young Canadian writers who have specialized and focused on writing about science from a biographical perspective.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tamara Taylor

    I am having a hard time deciding how I feel about this book. It tells the vivid and horrific tale of chimps used in biomedical research. The treatment and social isolation of these creatures is appalling and disturbing. Enter the kind hearted people of Fauna Sanctuary who give the chimps a second lease on life. LOVE. What I do have a problem with is that I don't feel that "life" is equivalent to "quality life". Allowing animals with diseased organs from years of biomedical testing, severe anxiet I am having a hard time deciding how I feel about this book. It tells the vivid and horrific tale of chimps used in biomedical research. The treatment and social isolation of these creatures is appalling and disturbing. Enter the kind hearted people of Fauna Sanctuary who give the chimps a second lease on life. LOVE. What I do have a problem with is that I don't feel that "life" is equivalent to "quality life". Allowing animals with diseased organs from years of biomedical testing, severe anxiety from living in isolation, self-mutilation and severe social issues/aggression from lack of socialization leading to maiming their cell mates defies logic. I don't see the wisdom of allowing a chimp to "live out its natural life" when it's very existence in captivity is the furthest thing from natural and is fraught with severe mental disturbance and anxiety. Red flags were raised for me when Gloria aligned herself with PETA. At times the book came across as "look at us martyrs of the chimps" when I was really questioning if it was really in the chimps best interests to prolong life for each of them. I too consider myself a guardian of the animals in my care, but I would never hesitate to provide humane euthanasia to end the physical or mental suffering for one of my charges. A long life doesn't equate with a good life. All in all it was an interesting read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Idarah

    The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll, centers on a subject that frankly makes people uncomfortable. Since the 1930s, Chimpanzees and other primates have been used for scientific experiments ranging from flying to the moon to medical research, most notably in relation to Hepatitis and HIV. Can living in a tiny cage your whole life, and being subjected to several surgical procedures a month really affect an animal who's never known any other way? You bet your front teeth it can! Journali The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll, centers on a subject that frankly makes people uncomfortable. Since the 1930s, Chimpanzees and other primates have been used for scientific experiments ranging from flying to the moon to medical research, most notably in relation to Hepatitis and HIV. Can living in a tiny cage your whole life, and being subjected to several surgical procedures a month really affect an animal who's never known any other way? You bet your front teeth it can! Journalist and primologist, Andrew Westoll, decides to volunteer as caregiver at the Fauna Sanctuary ran/owned by Gloria Grow. It is home to a variety of animals that have been mistreated or abandoned by previous owners. The most infamous inhabitants of this retreat are the 13 chimps that Grow rescued from the notorious LEMSIP research lab, most of which are HIV positive. Each one of their stories will break your heart. Some of the passages were hard to read; I broke down at times in sobs, which is why I had to stop reading it on my daily commutes to work. Animal lovers may be leary of this read. Don't be. Like the title mentions, this book is about resilience. Despite being used and abused by humans all of their lives, these animals still have room in their hearts for the earnest-hearted humans that care for them. They can find joy in small pleasures like ripe fruit and sunshine, things they never experienced before. Especially important is the awareness that this book raises; currently the United States is the only country that still uses chimpanzees for medical research. I had no idea!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    A friend of mine read this book in one day, so I was excited to read it. I was not disappointed. This is a book that is mainly about chimpanzees, but it encompasses many different things. It's the story about a sanctuary that housed 13 chimpanzees who have been damaged by lab research, or abandoned by zoos or the circus. Primatologist turned journalist Andrew Westoll spends 10 weeks working at the Fauna Sanctuary, located in Quebec. He tells the story of the chimps, but also of the people who ar A friend of mine read this book in one day, so I was excited to read it. I was not disappointed. This is a book that is mainly about chimpanzees, but it encompasses many different things. It's the story about a sanctuary that housed 13 chimpanzees who have been damaged by lab research, or abandoned by zoos or the circus. Primatologist turned journalist Andrew Westoll spends 10 weeks working at the Fauna Sanctuary, located in Quebec. He tells the story of the chimps, but also of the people who are working in the sanctuary. This is a story bout pain and hurt, but also about compassion and recovery. There are facts about animal research and such, but it's explained in a easy to read manner. There is both sadness and humour in this book. Westoll does a great job revealing the personalities of the chimps and explaining their actions, yet he doesn't anthropomize (sp) them. This is a story that will really stick with you and make you think. I cried at the end of the book, and I rarely cry at books. AMERICANS READING THIS- Invasive primate research is still performed in your country. Please learn about the Great Ape Protection Act, and try to end animal testing on apes. I was truly horrified to learn about this. http://www.releasechimps.org/#axzz1hJ... http://www.andrewwestoll.com/chimps-o...

  8. 4 out of 5

    ❀ Susan G

    I am writing this review through tears. The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an eye opening story of the horrors of animal testing yet shows the compassion and care of people like Gloria Grow and her team that work diligently to provide a better retirement for these amazing chimpanzees. It is a lesson in resilience and perseverance as the team understood the chimp's personalities and individual challenges. It is shocking to realize the horror of what these magnificent beings have endured yet to see I am writing this review through tears. The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an eye opening story of the horrors of animal testing yet shows the compassion and care of people like Gloria Grow and her team that work diligently to provide a better retirement for these amazing chimpanzees. It is a lesson in resilience and perseverance as the team understood the chimp's personalities and individual challenges. It is shocking to realize the horror of what these magnificent beings have endured yet to see the friendship and strength of these animals to recover and adapt. I did not know that there was a Canadian chimp sanctuary and am thankful to have read this book and learn more!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen McFall

    This is an excellent book and I recommend it. Andrew Westoll has made an important contribution to the ongoing debate in society about the use of non-human primates in biomedical research. Through Westoll's words, we journey with him as he accumulates experiences, facts and revelations during his guest stint as a writer/worker at Fauna Sanctuary, a rescued chimp sanctuary. We learn details about the daily life and needs of chimps (they like tea and smoothies, and smell very bad), about their human This is an excellent book and I recommend it. Andrew Westoll has made an important contribution to the ongoing debate in society about the use of non-human primates in biomedical research. Through Westoll's words, we journey with him as he accumulates experiences, facts and revelations during his guest stint as a writer/worker at Fauna Sanctuary, a rescued chimp sanctuary. We learn details about the daily life and needs of chimps (they like tea and smoothies, and smell very bad), about their human-like social tendencies and ability to form genuine friendships and strategic alliances, about their grief when their friends die, about their robust capacity for aggression and the need for keepers to be relentlessly vigilant in protecting themselves and the weaker chimps, and about their pranks and jokes. Eventually, we come to an unavoidable acceptance of the "humanity" of the chimps. We also learn firsthand about the heartbreaking physical and mental damage done to the group of rescued chimps at Fauna Sanctuary. And, given a reader's nascent empathy with the chimps (see paragraph above), the consequences of (mostly) biomedical research and captivity for the purposes of human entertainment (a circus, for example) are keenly felt. Westoll effectively breaks out of the strident and unhelpful one-sided (from both animal activists and the scientific community) diatribes about the use of animals in medical research and brings calmer language to a social debate which is among the most significant and paradigm-shifting now underway in society: is it ethical to subject animals to experiments in ways that damage (or kill) them so as to advance medicine? The implications not just for biomedical research but for our own definition of what it means to be "sentient" are profound. In my view, participating in this debate requires an honest appraisal of facts. This book contributes to the debate by presenting a straightforward description of the consequences to these chimps of being subject to years and years of invasive research. It is not a pretty picture. Westoll ably places the debate in context by tracing the evolution of chimp research and its many failures to deliver on its promise the last many decades. However, for me, the book fell down a bit by an unwillingness to meaningfully wrestle with the issue from the perspective of the benefits of the research. For example, the same week I read this book, worldwide headlines were made about a potential vaccine for HIV/AIDS stemming from research on non-human primates. Is a vaccine that could help millions of people worth the price of hundreds of chimps lives? That is the fundamental question with which we wrestle. It is not an easy one. But for readers interested in this question, this book is worth reading.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    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 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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This book is equal parts heartbreaking, and hopeful - and completely fascinating. Author Andrew Westoll spent several months volunteering at Fauna Sanctuary, a huge farm and sanctuary for retired and rescued lab chimpanzees. Its founder, Gloria Grow,has made it her life mission to give back to the chimps who have given up so much. The chimps' stories are personal and heartbreaking; subjected to years of medical research, they are both psychologically and physically damaged. They've been infected This book is equal parts heartbreaking, and hopeful - and completely fascinating. Author Andrew Westoll spent several months volunteering at Fauna Sanctuary, a huge farm and sanctuary for retired and rescued lab chimpanzees. Its founder, Gloria Grow,has made it her life mission to give back to the chimps who have given up so much. The chimps' stories are personal and heartbreaking; subjected to years of medical research, they are both psychologically and physically damaged. They've been infected with human viruses, undergone numerous surgeries, been knocked out repeatedly by dart guns, and separated from the family groups that are so important to their species. And yet...somehow on a farm in the Canadian countryside, they've found ways to begin healing and trusting again. The author blends the very personal story of Gloria's chimps with the history of human beings' relationship with chimps, the debate over lab research and the Great Ape Protection Act, and the sociology of these fascinating animals with whom we share more than 94% of our DNA.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dearbhla

    In Fauna Sanctuary Gloria Grow rescues animals. There are dogs, horses, swans, a donkey, and of course the chimpanzees. Most were retired from research facilities where they were the subjects of medical research into Hepatitis, HIV, and the like. There are a few who were circus chimps. Some of them started life as pets, cute little chimps to dress up and play with, until they grew too big and strong and dangerous. Anyone who heard of Travis and his attack on Charla Nash knows that a chimp is not In Fauna Sanctuary Gloria Grow rescues animals. There are dogs, horses, swans, a donkey, and of course the chimpanzees. Most were retired from research facilities where they were the subjects of medical research into Hepatitis, HIV, and the like. There are a few who were circus chimps. Some of them started life as pets, cute little chimps to dress up and play with, until they grew too big and strong and dangerous. Anyone who heard of Travis and his attack on Charla Nash knows that a chimp is not to be taken lightly. And yet people continue to try and keep them as domestic pets. In this book Westoll spent a year working in the Fauna Sanctuary. He gets to know not only the people who work there but also the chimpanzees themselves, and their horrific lives spent as test subjects, being knocked out, biopsied, infected, and isolated. chimps of fauna sanctuary This is a heart-breaking story. Made all the worse because it is true. The chimps Andrew meets, from bully boy Yoko to peace-maker Jethro to Rachel with her love for human clothes, all have huge issues and problems. They have been so mistreated that many can never fully recover. All Gloria can offer them is the chance for some respite and the hope that they can find some peace. But they are so damaged, physically and phychologically, that they are almost beyond hope. Westoll paints a very readable tale of a year in the life of these chimps and people. He also fills us in on the backstories of the chimps, what they were through in their years as research animals. Being torn away from their mothers when only a few days old, and, in many cases isolated for years. He tells us of the research that proves that chimps and other primates need love and contact in their formative years, just as any human child does. How it is becoming more and more accepted that they can suffer from PTSD, just as people do, and yet that they are so dissimilar from us in other ways. All that HIV research they endured did nothing to help people, chimpanzee’s never develop AIDS, the disease affects them in a totally different manner. Likewise the Hepatitis research can be done now with artificially grown human tissue, much more beneficial than testing treatments on a chimp. And even if it was of some benefit Westoll argues that it is ethically and morally wrong to use chimps in such a way. He compares it to the medical research performed on African-American men who were not given treatment for their syphillus in prison in the past. We wouldn’t do that now, someday will people look back with the same horror as what we are doing to chimpanzees today? The United States is the only country in the world that still experiments on primates. And much of Gloria Grow’s work is involved in lobbying for legislation to protect the chimps. If you would like to donate to her, or other chimp sanctuaries you can find details here: http://www.faunafoundation.org/ I found this a fascinating book, hard to read in places, and maybe a little biased, but I think we can excuse Westoll that, he did live in the sanctuary for a year, and to be honest, I think I’d be on the chimps side too.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Author Andrew Westroll, tells the heart breaking true life stories of chimps living on a 240 acre farm near Montreal. Westroll volunteered to work for the sanctuary's founder, Gloria Grow for several months. He got to know the individual chimps and learned their terrifying histories. We learn that the US is the only country still permitting biomedical research on chimps. Attempts are being made to pass legislation banning the practice. Arguments have been made that although chimps and humans ha Author Andrew Westroll, tells the heart breaking true life stories of chimps living on a 240 acre farm near Montreal. Westroll volunteered to work for the sanctuary's founder, Gloria Grow for several months. He got to know the individual chimps and learned their terrifying histories. We learn that the US is the only country still permitting biomedical research on chimps. Attempts are being made to pass legislation banning the practice. Arguments have been made that although chimps and humans have over 94% DNA in common, there are enough differences to have made much of the experimentation without value for humans. Baby chimps were removed from their mothers right after birth and kept in isolation, and so did not learn socialization skills.They lived in fear of humans who would approach the cage with dart guns to knock them out. From there they were repeatedly injected with deadly viruses or subjected to invasive surgeries.The lab chimps suffered from resulting PTSD, severe psychotic withdrawl or rages, were physically ill from HIV, hepatitis, heart strain and other physical conditions . They subjected themselves to self mutilation and were terrorized to the extent that they would attempt to severely injure other chimps or humans when they eventually came in contact.Several of the chimps at the sanctuary were brought up as pets and discarded to labs when they became to big to dress up and play with, or had been circus performers. Within the sanctuary they are given the chance to heal their physical and mental wounds as much as possible. They slowly begin to socialize with other chimps, building strong friendships and alliances and show grief and mourning when a friend dies. The physical layout of the sanctuary seems an ideal one where the animals can experience the sun and contact with one another, and retreat to be alone if they wish. I wish more pictures of the buildings and more diagrams were displayed as I found it hard to visualize. You can read all about the sanctuary and its chimps and see their pictures here: http://www.faunafoundation.org/index.... The book is highly recommended although the individual histories are hard to read. For some reason the farm will not be allowed to accept any more rescued or retired chimps, and I hope that this will be changed.

  14. 5 out of 5

    JenniferD

    Actually a 4.5 Star read! This book is hard to review because it is a necessary story, a hard story and a story that shows how ruddy right shitty human beings can be; the hard part comes from not wanting to be a hard-ass on author Westoll for some less than stellar passages and other cliché moments of self-inspection. Please know that Westoll is a journalist and was, briefly, a primatologist - living for one year in Suriname to study. He comes from a research, scientific and fact background. He s Actually a 4.5 Star read! This book is hard to review because it is a necessary story, a hard story and a story that shows how ruddy right shitty human beings can be; the hard part comes from not wanting to be a hard-ass on author Westoll for some less than stellar passages and other cliché moments of self-inspection. Please know that Westoll is a journalist and was, briefly, a primatologist - living for one year in Suriname to study. He comes from a research, scientific and fact background. He seems like a kind and lovely man. His writing style is fluid, compelling and sometimes, even, poetic. My wish, though, is that Westoll had not added his journey into the equation, weaving his personal searching (if that's the right word??) during his time at the sanctuary (where he resided in research of this book). The chimps of Fauna Sanctuary have stories, biographies of horrible affronts to their physical and emotional lives. Coupled with the story of Gloria Grow, Fauna's founder, there is certainly more than enough to provide a tale that can stand alone. Seriously. So yeah, I feel like a crappy human being for trifling over this stuff but I think it is worth noting the things that didn't work for me. And really, it is still a 4.5 Star book, so it didn't rankle my cankles enough to chafe. Read this book! DO IT!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Talia

    The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is a heartwarming, eye-opening, and heartbreaking story of Gloria Grow and the chimps she is providing sanctuary to in Canada. Westoll tells of his personal time at Fauna, as well as the history of human interactions with chimps and the individual histories of each amazing chimp living at Fauna. I laughed at the antics and developing relationship between the author and the chimps. They all have such individual personalities. I cried as I read over the horrendous ord The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is a heartwarming, eye-opening, and heartbreaking story of Gloria Grow and the chimps she is providing sanctuary to in Canada. Westoll tells of his personal time at Fauna, as well as the history of human interactions with chimps and the individual histories of each amazing chimp living at Fauna. I laughed at the antics and developing relationship between the author and the chimps. They all have such individual personalities. I cried as I read over the horrendous ordeals that the chimps have suffered in the name of research, and pondered upon the chimps' amazing ability to heal and find peace. I great admire Gloria and the people working with her to provide a safe and loving place for the chimps to retire. Westoll shows Gloria as a strong hero who has rescued our closest animal relative but also shows the toll that being their caregiver has taken on her. I plan to support the Great Apes Protection Act, also detailed in this book. I hope you will too!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Scotchneat

    This book is hard to read. Not because it's written poorly, but because the subject matter is hard to face. Westoll, who has a background in primate anthropology (I use those words on purpose), spent a summer as a volunteer at Fauna Sanctuary - the only Canadian accredited chimp sanctuary. Located in Quebec, this sanctuary is where chimps who were used in medical research and/or worked in small circuses or zoos go to die. What the Grow family have set up is a place where they can have a better res This book is hard to read. Not because it's written poorly, but because the subject matter is hard to face. Westoll, who has a background in primate anthropology (I use those words on purpose), spent a summer as a volunteer at Fauna Sanctuary - the only Canadian accredited chimp sanctuary. Located in Quebec, this sanctuary is where chimps who were used in medical research and/or worked in small circuses or zoos go to die. What the Grow family have set up is a place where they can have a better rest of life, one with real food, friendship and some control over their lives. The chimps all have social problems, great fear and anger when it comes to medical intervention and human intervention. Easy to understand if you had your teeth knocked out with a crowbar, were knocked down with blow darts hundreds of times, or were giving Hepatitis or HIV on purpose. The book is also full of love and moments of awe, though, and fun and small victories. You'll never look at medical research the same way again.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Keenan

    I cannot believe the torture these Chimps go through throughout their "career" in these biomedical testing facilities. I cannot stop thinking about each and everyone of them. Andrew Westoll's writing helped me to think about things from a chimp's point of view and also from a human's stand point. (not so different) I felt that I was pretty knowledgeable on this topic before reading this book but boy was I wrong. I admire Gloria Grow and all of her staff for doing everything in their power to giv I cannot believe the torture these Chimps go through throughout their "career" in these biomedical testing facilities. I cannot stop thinking about each and everyone of them. Andrew Westoll's writing helped me to think about things from a chimp's point of view and also from a human's stand point. (not so different) I felt that I was pretty knowledgeable on this topic before reading this book but boy was I wrong. I admire Gloria Grow and all of her staff for doing everything in their power to give the chimpanzees the power to make choices and to live out their lives at the Fauna Sanctuary.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Darcia Helle

    Andrew Westoll takes us inside a chimpanzee sanctuary, where he spends months getting to know those who live there. Many of these chimps were rescued from biomedical research labs. The abuse they suffered is heartbreaking. Their resilience and willingness to forgive humans is astounding. No matter which side of the fence you're on with animal research, this is a must read. ** I received this ebook as an advanced readers copy from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalley. ** Andrew Westoll takes us inside a chimpanzee sanctuary, where he spends months getting to know those who live there. Many of these chimps were rescued from biomedical research labs. The abuse they suffered is heartbreaking. Their resilience and willingness to forgive humans is astounding. No matter which side of the fence you're on with animal research, this is a must read. ** I received this ebook as an advanced readers copy from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalley. **

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

    I was biased to like this book before I even started reading it because of the subject matter. I'd watched a documentary about the chimps at Fauna Sanctuary a couple years ago that both broke and expanded my heart. After some time for reflection and thought I was ready to learn more. That's what this book was for me. A way to put my foot further in the door. It's well-written, personal and engaging. I recommend it to everyone. Everyone. You will cry. I was biased to like this book before I even started reading it because of the subject matter. I'd watched a documentary about the chimps at Fauna Sanctuary a couple years ago that both broke and expanded my heart. After some time for reflection and thought I was ready to learn more. That's what this book was for me. A way to put my foot further in the door. It's well-written, personal and engaging. I recommend it to everyone. Everyone. You will cry.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Allison Matthews

    I wish every single person in this country would read this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Heather Anne

    This book was fascinating and heartbreaking. I will never comprehend the levels of evil we are capable of. I had never heard of this sanctuary before, but am thrilled to discover it's only about two hours from home; I'm hoping to be able to attend one of their symposiums. The work these people are doing is necessary, selfless, and involves a stunning amount of labour. The mental images of the biomed labs and all of the nameless chimps driven to psychosis because of what humankind is putting them This book was fascinating and heartbreaking. I will never comprehend the levels of evil we are capable of. I had never heard of this sanctuary before, but am thrilled to discover it's only about two hours from home; I'm hoping to be able to attend one of their symposiums. The work these people are doing is necessary, selfless, and involves a stunning amount of labour. The mental images of the biomed labs and all of the nameless chimps driven to psychosis because of what humankind is putting them through will stay with me for a long, long time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Griffin

    The chimpanzees of Andrew Westoll's riveting book endured decades of brutal medical experimentation prior to their transfer to Fauna Sanctuary. Primatologist Andrew Westoll's first-hand account of their daily struggles and progress is provocative and compelling, as is his account of the selfless caretakers who have dedicated their lives to help these primates heal. The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an inspiring story of redemption that every animal advocate should read. The chimpanzees of Andrew Westoll's riveting book endured decades of brutal medical experimentation prior to their transfer to Fauna Sanctuary. Primatologist Andrew Westoll's first-hand account of their daily struggles and progress is provocative and compelling, as is his account of the selfless caretakers who have dedicated their lives to help these primates heal. The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an inspiring story of redemption that every animal advocate should read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    ✿✿✿May

    I read it as part of the Canada Reads 2019 longlist. Before reading this, I was completely ignorant about the existence of the sanctuary and the work that Gloria Grow has been doing for these beautiful animals! It was so heartbreaking to read at some parts and so heartwarming at another. Just found out today that it didn't make the shortlist, which is too bad! I read it as part of the Canada Reads 2019 longlist. Before reading this, I was completely ignorant about the existence of the sanctuary and the work that Gloria Grow has been doing for these beautiful animals! It was so heartbreaking to read at some parts and so heartwarming at another. Just found out today that it didn't make the shortlist, which is too bad!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ada Hoffmann

    This was an interesting and, at times, frustrating book. I'm struck by the stories of the chimpanzees and of how awful medical research with apes can be, but I'm even more struck by the weird parallels I kept noticing by the way that the author describes Gloria, the head of the sanctuary, and the ways that the caregivers of disabled humans are often described. This is probably my own issue and I'm not even really sure what I think of it; I'm going to be chewing on this one for a while. This was an interesting and, at times, frustrating book. I'm struck by the stories of the chimpanzees and of how awful medical research with apes can be, but I'm even more struck by the weird parallels I kept noticing by the way that the author describes Gloria, the head of the sanctuary, and the ways that the caregivers of disabled humans are often described. This is probably my own issue and I'm not even really sure what I think of it; I'm going to be chewing on this one for a while.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Annette Supruniuk

    Heart wrenching yet so informative. Loved this book!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    One of my goals this year is to read more Non-Fiction books, so when I heard about The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll (HarperCollins), I knew it was a perfect choice for me. I love all animals but I have always had a really special place in my heart for Great Apes, including chimps. I ordered a copy from a great bookstore in Kingston, ON called A Novel Idea and was sad that I had to leave town before it arrived. Next time my boyfriend came for a visit, he brought with him my copy of One of my goals this year is to read more Non-Fiction books, so when I heard about The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll (HarperCollins), I knew it was a perfect choice for me. I love all animals but I have always had a really special place in my heart for Great Apes, including chimps. I ordered a copy from a great bookstore in Kingston, ON called A Novel Idea and was sad that I had to leave town before it arrived. Next time my boyfriend came for a visit, he brought with him my copy of the book as a surprise. I was so excited I danced around my room, hugging the book to my chest. Jess really does know that the way to my heart is through books! First and foremost, when reading this book I advise that you have some tissue handy because you are going to cry. The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is about a champion of a woman named Gloria Grow who decides to turn her farmland into a sanctuary for chimps who have spent their lives in biomedical research facilities. While there, they were subjected to terrifying medical procedures, social isolation and depraved living conditions. The book is also a memoir detailing Westoll’s own time spent living at the sanctuary, immersing himself in the “retirement” life of the chimps and getting to know the people who have dedicated their lives to helping these animals find some dignity in their later years. Above all else though, this book is about the chimpanzees themselves. It is their stories that really made me love this book and read it every spare second I had- including while waiting at the bus stop, frozen fingers be damed. Westoll vividly describes the horrors they knew as research chimps, the physical scars and ailments they bear after years of being experimented upon and of course, the psychological traumas that haunt them every moment (many of Fauna’s past and present residents display symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). However, the book really allows their resilience to claim the soul of the story. After years of being subjected to horrors that I couldn’t even fathom enduring, these amazing animals are capable of trusting, forgiving, loving and learning. Their story is an inspiration. I loved how Westoll expressed the unique personality of each and every one of these extraordinary animals; I felt a strong attachment to all of them as individuals. This is where that box of tissues comes in handy, not just because their stories are sad (and they are tragic) but because these animals are the strongest, most compassionate individuals I have read about in a long time. As Westoll himself writes, “They are better than us.” They really, truly are and that is what reduced to me to a tearful mess. I could go on at length about the issues of vivisection and the use of animals, including chimpanzees, in research but I won’t. Westoll does a superb job of expressing why using chimps (or any animal) for experimentation is horrible, but the residents of Fauna Sanctuary are the best advocates of all because they put faces, names and an incredible story of survival to the issue. I loved this book, I still think about it every day. Well-worth checking out.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    The world needs more people like Gloria Grow, and her friends and family. The world needs more people to speak up for those animals who can't vocalize their needs. The world needs more people like Andrew Westoll, to tell the stories of lab chimps. Honestly, this book was a wonderful, informational, heartfelt story of 13 chimps that were retired to a sanctuary in Canada. I don't know what more to write about this book for a review (perhaps I should do it a little later when the ending of this boo The world needs more people like Gloria Grow, and her friends and family. The world needs more people to speak up for those animals who can't vocalize their needs. The world needs more people like Andrew Westoll, to tell the stories of lab chimps. Honestly, this book was a wonderful, informational, heartfelt story of 13 chimps that were retired to a sanctuary in Canada. I don't know what more to write about this book for a review (perhaps I should do it a little later when the ending of this book sinks into my skull.) I know that this book has made me think a lot about our culture and the way that we treat other animals and such. If we are such a civilized species, why do we just stand/sit here and let people do these things? Yeah, people will argue that we need the medical research done in order to "cure" our own race. Truth is, the AIDs research that they were doing on these animals only helped the creatures that we infected the virus to, the research subjects, not us. There is a moral line that people do not seem to see when it comes to research on animals. Hopefully there will come a time when these animals all can retire in peace. I was glad that I read this book. I feel if these 13 apes have touched my life somehow, that's how a good story teller works. Thank you Andrew, for sharing with us the time that you spent with these beautiful, misunderstood animals. Thank you for sharing their stories.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    Chimps of Fauna sanctuary was...ehhh, pretty good. I think the general knowledge contained within it was gorgeous and interesting and engaging. How the information is presented, however, can be confusing and sketchy at some times - Andrew Westoll, it seems, needs to work on his journaling. But again, behind the mediocre writing was an incredibly captivating story of chimpanzee pyschology and behavior. I'm a huge fan of ethology so that's probably what hooked me - and hooked me it did. (Not sure if Chimps of Fauna sanctuary was...ehhh, pretty good. I think the general knowledge contained within it was gorgeous and interesting and engaging. How the information is presented, however, can be confusing and sketchy at some times - Andrew Westoll, it seems, needs to work on his journaling. But again, behind the mediocre writing was an incredibly captivating story of chimpanzee pyschology and behavior. I'm a huge fan of ethology so that's probably what hooked me - and hooked me it did. (Not sure if that sentence even made sense. Whatever.) A few bits I thought were great writing and great moments: In the book about fifteen chimpanzees escape from their enclosures. It's expected that when the caretakers get inside the chimp house some of the chimps will be killed, raped, or abused - but that isn't the case. When the caretakers get inside the chimp house they find that the thing chimpanzees do when they're given the freedom to is to be more human. They cook. They clean. They bake. They watch TV. And I find that stunningly beautiful, that animals strive to be more human, even given past events that cause post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and panic. Alltogether an enjoyable read, although it really did lack in cohesiveness and writing quality.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kiley

    The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is at its best when it focuses on the chimps themselves and their stories of trauma, of rehabilitation, of idiosyncrasies and on Westoll's own reactions to them and how he changes as a result of his time at the sanctuary. When it does this, the book is unputdownable. Less successful is the extent to which Westoll's own activism made it into the pages of the book; his need to have us, the reader, do something about the plight of the lab chimps. He could have achieved The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is at its best when it focuses on the chimps themselves and their stories of trauma, of rehabilitation, of idiosyncrasies and on Westoll's own reactions to them and how he changes as a result of his time at the sanctuary. When it does this, the book is unputdownable. Less successful is the extent to which Westoll's own activism made it into the pages of the book; his need to have us, the reader, do something about the plight of the lab chimps. He could have achieved the same effect mostly through his exposition of the chimps' ordeals paired with a shorter section, maybe an appendix, on how to act/donate if desired. As it stood, I felt a bit pushed at the end and wished for more "chimp story." That said, I completely understand how his passion translated into the way the book was structured, and it was a beautiful read in large part because of Westoll's strong feelings about the subject. He cares. And that's amazing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    ** I won this book through Good Reads First Reads** I loved this book! I think I liked the author's writing style the most. He had a wonderful way of keeping me engaged in the story. I think the subchapters helped that as well. Even after reading this book, I am still on the fence about animal testing. But I loved learning about some of those chimps that have been rescued from the labs. They each had a very unique personality and some of the stories were very emotional. This book definitely helps m ** I won this book through Good Reads First Reads** I loved this book! I think I liked the author's writing style the most. He had a wonderful way of keeping me engaged in the story. I think the subchapters helped that as well. Even after reading this book, I am still on the fence about animal testing. But I loved learning about some of those chimps that have been rescued from the labs. They each had a very unique personality and some of the stories were very emotional. This book definitely helps me lean much more to the view of testing should not be done on chimps. I liked the background information on GAPA and other such organizations. The author had obviously done his research before writing the book. I love that this is a true story and Gloria is an amazing woman. I would definitely recommend this book!

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