Tuesday, February 28, 2006

OSU Professor chains self to gate, delaying chimp transfer

An Ohio State University professor and other protesters chained themselves to a gate outside the campus chimpanzee center where she's conducted her life's work, delaying for hours the transfer of nine chimpanzees to a Texas sanctuary.

Ohio State officials said last week the center was closing because of lack of research funds and had limited Sally Boysen's access to the center outside regular office hours.

Boysen, who founded the research lab in 1983, sought a federal court order to stop the transfer, but a truck showed up to move the apes soon after U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley denied the request Monday.

The protesters eventually unchained themselves but still blocked the truck's exit through the gate. The truck left late Monday under police escort, bound for Primarily Primates in San Antonio.

"If anything, I should have jumped on the truck and gone with them," Boysen said.

Boysen had tried to secure research funding since 2002, when the university said she must get grants or the center would close. Meanwhile, donations and money from a 2002 television special on two of the apes supplemented the $200,000 annual cost of their care.

Under her research, the chimpanzees learned basic counting and letters. Boysen also demonstrated that chimpanzees can show caring for the safety of their companions, contradicting the notion that only humans show altruism.

Boysen said the transfer violates contracts for the donation of eight of the chimpanzees. She bought the ninth. She said she will continue the court fight, seeking their return to a Columbus-area site off campus.

Story here.

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