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The answer to the AIDS epidemic is not lying in research with monkeys.

The answer to the AIDS epidemic is not lying in research with monkeys.

Jillian Edelstein

The Chimp’s Champion

Q: As the world’s best-known primatologist, and the one who discovered that chimpanzees use tools, do you consider yourself an animal rights activist?

I don’t call myself an animal rights activist. I think that’s like waving flags.

Yet I hear you just signed a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting that it reject a proposal to do AIDS research involving the sooty mangabey monkey.

The answer to the AIDS epidemic is not lying in research with monkeys.

We cannot know until we try, and don’t you think we are morally obligated to try everything we can?

Yes, I do, but I think we have wasted huge numbers of dollars doing things with chimps and monkeys. Most medical breakthroughs are not the result of work with animals, although the law requires the new breakthrough to be tested on animals before it can be applied to people.

So you are a crusader these days, as opposed to a research scientist at the Gombe National Park in Tanzania, where you did your pioneering work with chimps in the 1960’s?

I went to a conference in 1986. It brought together all the chimpanzee people working in Africa, and when I came out of the session on conservation, having seen the destruction of chimp habitats across Africa and the way they are treated in captive situations like labs and circus training, I knew that I could no longer sit in my beautiful forest. I had to come out and try and do something to help. From that day, I haven’t been more than three weeks in any one place.

And you’ll be spending part of August in the U.S., to raise money for your institute. Do you find it easier to raise funds here than in your native England?

Yes, because of the tax break. Ours is not the same.

Are you tired of being known as the chimpanzee lady?

I don’t really care what I am called. A rose by any other name. There is a biography of me that comes out this November. It’s called: “Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man,” which is very catchy.

Perhaps the book will be a pop sensation like

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The answer to the AIDS <classifier class="Topic" type="Topic" idsrc="nyt-classifier" value="health:::Recent and archival health news about epidemics.:::http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/epidemics/index.html"></classifier><alt-code idsrc="nyt-classifier" value="Epidemics"></alt-code>epidemic is not lying in research with monkeys.<br /><br /><img height="560" alt="" src="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/07/13/magazine/16q4.190.jpg" width="190" border="0" /> <div class="credit">Jillian Edelstein<br /><br />The Chimp’s Champion <nyt_byline version="1.0" type=" "></nyt_byline> <div class="byline">Interview by DEBORAH SOLOMON</div> <nyt_text></nyt_text> <div id="articleBody"> <p>Q: <em>As the world’s best-known primatologist, and the one who discovered that chimpanzees use tools, do you consider yourself an animal rights activist?</em> </p> <p>I don’t call myself an animal rights activist. I think that’s like waving flags. </p> <div class="ljcut"> <p><em>Yet I hear you just signed a letter to the U.S. </em><org value="arts, automobiles, books, business, college, dining, education, fashion, garden, giving, health, jobs, magazine, movies, multimedia, nyregion, obituaries, realestate, science, sports, style, technology, theater, travel, us, washington, weekinreview, world:::More articles about Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.:::http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/f/fish_and_wildlife_service/index.html" idrc="nyt-org"></org><em><alt-code idsrc="nyt-org" value="Fish and Wildlife Service"></alt-code>Fish and Wildlife Service requesting that it reject a proposal to do </em><em><alt-code idsrc="nyt-classifier" value="AIDS"></alt-code>AIDS research involving the sooty mangabey monkey.</em> </p> <p><org value="arts, automobiles, books, business, college, dining, education, fashion, garden, giving, health, jobs, magazine, movies, multimedia, nyregion, obituaries, realestate, science, sports, style, technology, theater, travel, us, washington, weekinreview, world:::More articles about Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.:::http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/f/fish_and_wildlife_service/index.html" idrc="nyt-org"></org>The answer to the AIDS <classifier class="Topic" type="Topic" idsrc="nyt-classifier" value="health:::Recent and archival health news about epidemics.:::http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/epidemics/index.html"></classifier><alt-code idsrc="nyt-classifier" value="Epidemics"></alt-code>epidemic is not lying in research with monkeys. </p> <p><em>We cannot know until we try, and don’t you think we are morally obligated to try everything we can?</em> </p> <p>Yes, I do, but I think we have wasted huge numbers of dollars doing things with chimps and monkeys. Most medical breakthroughs are not the result of work with animals, although the law requires the new breakthrough to be tested on animals before it can be applied to people. </p> <p><em>So you are a crusader these days, as opposed to a research scientist at the Gombe National Park in </em><em><alt-code idsrc="nyt-geo" value="Tanzania"></alt-code>Tanzania, where you did your pioneering work with chimps in the 1960’s?</em> </p> <p>I went to a conference in 1986. It brought together all the chimpanzee people working in <location code-source="nyt-geo" location-code="travel:::Go to the Africa Travel Guide.:::http://travel2.nytimes.com/top/features/travel/destinations/africa/"></location><alt-code idsrc="nyt-geo" value="Africa"></alt-code>Africa, and when I came out of the session on conservation, having seen the destruction of chimp habitats across Africa and the way they are treated in captive situations like labs and circus training, I knew that I could no longer sit in my beautiful forest. I had to come out and try and do something to help. From that day, I haven’t been more than three weeks in any one place. </p> <p><em>And you’ll be spending part of August in the U.S., to raise money for your institute. Do you find it easier to raise funds here than in your native </em><em><alt-code idsrc="nyt-geo" value="Great Britain"></alt-code>England?</em> </p> <p>Yes, because of the tax break. Ours is not the same. </p> <p><em>Are you tired of being known as the chimpanzee lady?</em> </p> <p>I don’t really care what I am called. A rose by any other name. There is a biography of me that comes out this November. It’s called: “Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man,” which is very catchy. </p> <p><em>Perhaps the book will be a pop sensation like </em><object.title class="Movie" idsrc="nyt_ttl" value="20394"></object.title><em><alt-code idsrc="nyt_ttl" value="Gorillas in the Mist"></alt-code>“Gorillas in the Mist,” the Dian Fossey story.</em> </p> <p><object.title class="Movie" idsrc="nyt_ttl" value="20394"></object.title>She got murdered, don’t forget. That makes for great drama. </p> <p><em>Perhaps you can arrange to mysteriously disappear before the book comes out.</em> </p> <p><em></em>Absolutely! I told the author, Dale Peterson, that. I said you better wait until I am murdered, or until I die, to get your book the attention it deserves. </p> <p><em>Fossey’s research was with gorillas, whereas yours is with chimps.</em> </p> <p><em></em>Compared to chimps, gorillas are totally boring. They spend huge amounts of the day just lolling about eating. </p> <p><em>Are you ever afraid of anything?</em> </p> <p>I was alone in a tent for years. Sometimes of course you get afraid. You don’t hear a leopard on the other side of a bit of canvas and not have your heart stop. Especially if I was out in the hills. I used to sleep quite often out on the mountain, with a blanket. </p> <p><em>Do you frequently think back to the past?</em> </p> <p>Of course I do. I look out at the trees I climbed as a child, when I dreamed of Africa. They’re still there. </p> <p><em>What do you make of the current fashion for providing aid to Africa, which has attracted everyone from President Clinton to </em><em><alt-code idsrc="nyt-per" value="Jolie, Angelina"></alt-code>Angelina Jolie?</em> </p> <p>We at the Jane Goodall Institute started long before that. But anything that is going to help Africa is great. Let it become fashionable. The more the better. </p> <p><em>I hear you are trying to start your own coffee label to help the farmers of Tanzania.</em> <org idsrc="NASDAQ" value="SBUX"></org><alt-code idsrc="NASDAQ" value="Starbucks Corp"></alt-code></p> <p><org idsrc="NASDAQ" value="SBUX"></org><alt-code idsrc="NASDAQ" value="Starbucks Corp"></alt-code>Starbucks may sell some. Green Mountain is very interested in buying some. It won’t be exclusive. We will deal with several roasters. We are still working on the label. </p> <p><em>What will you call it? Cup of Jane?</em> </p> <p>No. Jane Is Good 4 All. </p> </div> <p><br /></p> </div> </div>
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