Project Nim (♦♦♦♦)

I have had pets of different kinds throughout my life, and I'm very good with animals. In fact, as years have gone by I've grown more comfortable among animals than humans. Animals don't judge; they take you at face value, and I have seen animal behavior that cannot be described any other way than human. For that reason I think that animals have to be treated with empathy and consideration. Though I'm not an animal rights activist and I believe sometimes their rights are taking to the extreme, I feel heartbroken when I see animals suffering or being killed in human hands or care.

The reason for the diatribe above is the HBO documentary Project Nim, about a baby chimpanzee named Nim, who was raised as a human child with a family in New York, all in the name of science. The objective of the project was to find out the effects human interaction had on a developing chimpanzee, and if it could communicate with his human charges using sign language. As years went by and Nim grew stronger, it became a liability for the research scientist in charge of the project, setting in motion a chain of events that adversely impacted the rest of Nim's life.

Documentaries weren't my thing until I watched Blackfish and I was hooked. Blackfish explored the life of the orca whale Tillikum and the ethics and consequences of capturing animals for entertainment. As its environment negatively affected Tillikum, so did human interaction to Nim.

I find something very wrong with injecting diseases to animals as part of the process of a drug coming to the market. If we can't take good care of them, why do we even capture them and deny them an environment that is totally conducive to their development as is living with their fellow animals? The answer eludes me.


  1. It is a moral question and you are right to ask it. For me, the answer seems pretty obvious. Just because we can do it doesn't mean it is right to do it.

  2. This reminds me of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, the novel by Karen Joy Fowler. Similar idea along with what happened to the kids the chimp was raised with. Also gave me insight into animal activists.

    1. Then perhaps I should add that book to my reading list.

  3. Sounds like a sad film. And The Blackfish film chilled me totally.

    1. It was heartbreaking but it ended on a good note.


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