Chimpanzees are further abused by laboratories that violate the natural reproductive rhythm and mother-child bond.
In the wild, chimpanzees typically give birth once every five years. Young chimpanzees stay very cose to their mothers for years.
In a lab, chimpanzees used as “breeders” typically give birth once a year and their infants are taken from them. Since they are not nursing, the mother chimpanzees can get pregnant again within the year.
Sometimes newborns are taken from their mothers immediately after birth and raised by humans as part of lab policy or because the mother doesn’t know how to care for them. Mothers in the wild learn child-rearing skills from their mothers and group members. In most labs, even babies that remain with their mothers are artificially “weaned” by one year of age to accustom them to handling.
Naturally protective, chimpanzee mothers suffer anxiety and depression when their babies are taken. Some mothers eventually lose the ability to care for their newborns. Yet, nursery caregivers cannot meet the infants’ needs for constant contact and cradling.
Further, psychologists have shown that like humans, chimpanzees who experience multiple relational disruptions, such as mother-infant separation, suffer lasting and persistent psychological compromise.
NOTE: While there is currently a breeding moratorium, some laboratories continue to breed.