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March 19, 2009

National Contest for Kids: Chimps Deserve Better

The HSUS Reaches Out to Kids Grades K to 6

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States is spreading the message to schools about chimpanzees used for invasive research. Through a drawing contest launching April 1, 2009, The HSUS aims to open up classroom conversation about chimpanzees while sparking creativity and compassion among students in kindergarten through 6th grade.

The contest will create an age-appropriate dialogue by drawing attention in a fun, creative way to the nearly 600 chimpanzees residing in U.S. sanctuaries after spending decades of their lives suffering in laboratory settings. Over 1,000 chimps still live in nine labs; they deserve sanctuary. This contest is an age-appropriate way to teach children about these amazing animals and the problems they face. Early childhood education specialists with Humane Society Youth developed the contest.

The theme of the drawing contest is "Celebrate Chimpanzees," and the contest is open to all students in kindergarten through 6th grade. Students are asked to submit drawings that depict chimpanzees in sanctuaries and/or the wild.

The contest will be promoted to students in 35,000 classrooms that subscribe to The HSUS' classroom newspaper KIND News. Reaching over one million students, KIND News is the country's most widely circulated humane education publication teaching compassion and respect for all animals. It serves as a national resource for teachers, parents and others interested in humane education.

The drawing contest winner will receive a $500 savings bond and, if the submission is organized by a teacher, that school will be awarded a $1,000 gift certificate for school supplies. One of the finalists' submissions will be chosen as a featured design for The HSUS Chimps Deserve Better campaign. The contest deadline is June 1, 2009, and winners will be announced and contacted on June 15, 2009.

According to Kathleen Conlee, director of program management for animal research issues for The HSUS, "Many chimpanzees in sanctuary spent decades in labs and are now able to enjoy sunshine, socialization and humane care. This contest will provide children with an opportunity to be creative while learning about how special chimpanzees are and what kids can do to help them.

To Enter:

  • Use any medium to create a drawing on 17"X 22" or 11" X 17" paper
  • Fill out a contest application (found online at humanesociety.org/kids or mailed to you)
  • Send completed drawing and application to:

Chimps Deserve Better Drawing Contest
C/O Jennifer Ball
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L St., NW
Washington, DC 20037

Kid-friendly facts about chimpanzees:

  • Chimpanzees are great apes, as are gorillas, orangutans, bonobos and humans.
  • Great apes do not have tails and monkeys do.
  • It is estimated that 50 years ago, there were about a million chimpanzees living in Africa. Now, chimpanzees are considered endangered with as few as 150,000 left in the wild.
  • By the age of three, chimpanzees are as strong as an adult human but only weigh about 30-40 pounds.
  • Like humans, it has been shown that chimpanzees experience emotions like joy, anger, grief, sorrow, pleasure, boredom and depression. They also comfort and reassure one another by kissing and embracing.
  • Chimpanzees can live to be more than 50 years old.
  • Some chimpanzees have learned to communicate using American Sign Language, symbols and computer graphics.
  • Chimpanzees use tools. In the wild, they pound nuts with sticks and use stones like hammers, probe for honey and insects with twigs and grass stalks, pry open ant nests with small branches and get water from hollow trees by using wads of crumpled leaves like a sponge.
  • Chimpanzees will nurse on their mother for five years and do not become adults until they are 13 years old.
  • Chimpanzees can recognize a chimpanzee that they know just by looking at a photo of that chimpanzee's rear end.
  • There are over 1,000 chimpanzees in laboratories today. About 575 other chimpanzees have been retired to sanctuaries.

Through its Chimps Deserve Better campaign, The HSUS is working to gain support from policymakers, the public and the scientific community; challenging arguments advocating harmful chimpanzee research; educating about the plight of chimps in labs; and working to prevent breeding of more chimps into research.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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