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This is a story about boundaries – physical, biological, ethical. It evolved from a conversation with the late Dr. Alfred Prince, a hepatitis researcher, about the use of chimpanzees in medical research and expanded into a larger discussion about ethics. Prince left New York University’s Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in the 1970s to establish New York Blood Center’s chimpanzee research colony in Liberia. The story weaves various threads and makes connections between logging, the Liberian Civil War, and vivisection. Chimpanzees are slowly being phased out of research in the United States, and the New York Blood Center has ceased testing in Liberia, but questions remain about the fate of laboratory chimpanzees.
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About the Author
Sangamithra Iyer is a writer and a licensed professional civil engineer who holds a B.E. in civil engineering from the Cooper Union, an M.S. in geotechnical engineering from UC Berkeley and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Hunter College, where she was a recipient of a Hertog Fellowship. She served as the Assistant Editor of Satya magazine and is an Associate of the environmental action tank Brighter Green, where she writes about climate change and the globalization of factory farming. Her writing explores issues related to animals, social and environmental justice and the intersection of the personal and the political. Her work has appeared in n+1, Hippocampus Magazine, Satya, The L Magazine, Philadelphia Weekly, Open City, and at Our Hen House. Her essays have been anthologized in Sister Species: Women, Animals and Social Justice (University of Illinois Press) and Primate People: Saving Nonhuman Primates through Education, Advocacy and Sanctuary (University of Utah Press). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Wan and their rescued pit bull Moo Cow. Follow her @literaryanimal.