Woody Harrelson has applauded officials at America's National Institutes of Health for stalling plans to transfer 186 chimpanzees from an ape sanctuary in New Mexico to a laboratory in the actor's home state of Texas.
The animal-loving movie star has fired off a letter to NIH directors after they bowed to pressure from animal rights groups like PETA and shelved plans to perform invasive and painful infectious disease experiments at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio.
Harrelson is now asking the officials to return another 14 apes to the Alamogordo sanctuary. The chimps were transferred from the rehabilitation facility to the laboratory in 2010.
In his letter, written on behalf of PETA, Harrelson writes, "These aging chimpanzees... have endured decades of violence and torment, having been used in everything from space experiments to high-velocity seat belt tests.
"Only in the last few years have they enjoyed bedding, fruit, toys, the touch and companionship of other chimpanzees, and freedom from the knife. Will you please return the 14 chimpanzees... to these simple pleasures and allow them to continue the rehabilitation that they have more than earned?"