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The HSUS Announces Winner of Kids' 'Celebrate Chimpanzees' Drawing Contest

The Humane Society of the United States

Sophia Lovato, a 4th-grader from Monument, Colo., won first prize out of more than 250 entrants in The Humane Society of the United States' children's "Celebrate Chimpanzees" drawing contest. The contest was an age-appropriate, fun way to teach children about chimps and the problems they face in captivity.

Entrants were encouraged to create drawings which depicted chimpanzees in sanctuary or their natural habitat. The contest, which ran from April 1 to June 1, 2009, was open to any child in the U.S. in grades Kindergarten through 6th and was developed by early childhood education specialists with Humane Society Youth.

"Celebrate Chimpanzees" was a way of bringing attention to the nearly 600 chimpanzees residing in U.S. sanctuaries after spending decades of their lives suffering in laboratory settings. More than 1,000 chimps still live in eight labs throughout the U.S. and deserve sanctuary.

"There were so many wonderful and creative entries that it was hard to choose the winners," says Kathleen Conlee, director of program management for the animal research issues section of The HSUS. "The drawings, including some with accompanying messages, showed that the kids sympathized with chimpanzees in laboratories and seemed to understand their plight and their need for sanctuary. We were really pleased to see that."

As a grand prize, Sophia will receive a $500 savings bond for her drawing of two young chimpanzees. The other six winners, two from each age group (grades K-2, 3-4 and 5-6) will also receive prizes. In addition, the winners' drawings may be featured as designs for The HSUS' chimps deserve better campaign. The HSUS is also giving awards of class school supplies for the teachers who had coordinated the winners' entries.

Other winners include:

K-2 grade group

  • Abbi Eldridge, a 2nd-grader from Greensburg, Ind. (teacher: Linda Smith)
  • Ariana Liebold, a 2nd-grader from West Branch, Mich. (teacher: Denise Leibold)

3-4 grade group

  • Lauren Varner, a 3rd-grader from Bowling Green, Ky. (teacher: Cindy Travis)
  • Kyle Fisher, a 4th-grader from Tenino, Wash. (teacher: Lisa Atchinson)

5-6 grade group

  • Vanessa Molisee, a 5th-grader from Reedsville, W.Va (teacher: Kathy Newbrough)
  • Lauren Hurlbut, a 6th-grader from Chesterfield, Mo. (teacher: Jennifer Ferris)

Honorable mentions include:

  • Dominique Peña, a kindergartener from Deming, N.M.
  • Tashriq Islam, a 3rd-grader from Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Rhegan Day, a 3rd-grader from Greensburg, Ind.
  • Katelyn James, a 4th-grader from Wellsburg, W.Va.
  • Maggie Archer, a 6th-grader from Chesterfield, Mo.
  • Meagan Daugherty, also a 6th-grader from Chesterfield, Mo.

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.

Click here to view the winning drawings. To learn more about chimps in research, visit humanesociety.org/animals_in_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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