This week a young chimpanzee named Arden celebrated her 5th birthday at the Chimp Haven sanctuary in Keithville, Louisiana. Click here to watch a beautiful video about Arden.

Arden spent her first few years behind bars at the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC), which was the largest chimpanzee lab in the world. In June 2013, the National Institutes of Health announced that almost all of the government-owned chimpanzees at NIRC and other laboratories would be retired to sanctuaries (in the announcement, the NIH director stated, “new scientific methods and technologies have rendered their use in research largely unnecessary”). Arden and her mother were among the first chimps from NIRC to arrive at Chimp Haven in 2013.

It is wonderful to watch Arden climb trees, run on grass and play with friends at Chimp Haven. But if it was up to the President of Primate Products, Arden would have spent her life in a laboratory.

Thomas J. Rowell is President of Primate Products, an Immokalee-based company that imports and sells monkeys for use in research and testing. Before taking the position at Primate Products, Rowell served as NIRC’s Director for 15 years. In that role, Rowell was a leading proponent of the continued use of chimpanzees in biomedical research.

Thankfully, Arden is now safe from laboratory experiments!

We’ve written about Primate Products many times on this blog. Search “Primate Products” above to learn more about this company’s controversial history.