November 12th, 2014
A collaboration: We Animals and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS)
In January 2014, Theodora Capaldo, EdD, president of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS) contacted me about collaborating on a visual project with We Animals. NEAVS was in search of a photographic essay that would tell the stories of animals rescued from research laboratories, science and education. The goal was to celebrate those animals fortunate enough to make it out alive, while highlighting the amazing sanctuaries dedicated to their comfort and safety. Dr. Capaldo emphasized that NEAVS wants everyone to meet and celebrate each animal, through the compassionate and committed lens of your vision and work. I joyfully accepted this mission, and this is, in part, how I spent 2014.
NEAVS and We Animals seek to bring more attention to all of the animals exploited in so many different ways through science training, experiments, testing, and classrooms who are invisible and often overlooked in the animal protection community. And so we embarked on a mission to champion these very animals.
Since our initial conversation, we set out to uncover stories of animals used in research, such as chimpanzees, beagles and rats. Digging deeper, we decided to document animals less typically used, such as horses and goats, whose stories also deserve awareness and recognition. In addition, I was thrilled to spend a day photographing exquisite wild frogs on a beautiful New England pond. These images of frogs where they belong, in a natural environment, are in direct contrast to the harvesting of millions of frogs used each year during school dissections.
Gaining access to animals in labs is a near-impossible task; so we set out to find those animals who had been rescued, and are now living in the safety of sanctuary. Through NEAVS long-term relationships with and support of the wonderful people and sanctuaries that rescue animals from labs, we visited a number of locations and developed a rich archive of images that highlights their work. This included the Beagle Freedom Project, Lockwood Animal Rescue Center, and the Center for Great Apes, Save the Chimps, Fauna Foundation and Jungle Friends. I was so moved by the dedication of these sanctuaries, and happy to get to know some of the people who make it all happen. You could say that this made the NEAVS collaboration a dream assignment. The work of NEAVS and these sanctuaries saves thousands of lives and creates so much more compassion in the world. It was an honour to document their efforts and its been a privilege to collaborate with NEAVS.
To launch our collaboration Id like to share one of these beautiful stories of rescue. In July 2014, Jungle Friends sanctuary welcomed seven capuchin monkeys into their care. Chris, Xenon, Nick, Job, Xavier, Leo and Mickey were retired from the University of Georgia after living together in a lab for twenty years. The capuchins new habitat construction and care at Jungle Friends is but one of the many ways that NEAVS supports this sanctuary and so many others.
NEAVS and We Animals are thrilled to finally be sharing these photos and stories of rescue with you. There will be many more to come. You can follow the stories, and NEAVS incredible work on behalf of animals, at www.neavs.org
. If youd like to get involved in supporting this amazing organization and their commitment to getting every animal out of labs, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the following images: Jungle Friends founder Kari Bagnall and her staff welcome the capuchins
to their new home. They arrived in small travel cages but were released into their new sanctuary
enclosures after receiving veterinary care.