Ron, Save the Chimps, Fort Pierce, Florida, USA, 2008. Ron and I were born just a few months apart in 1976. While I was being nursed and loved by my family, he was taken away from his mother, who was likely a "breeder chimp," and put in a 5x5x7' cage suspended above the ground.
When Ron and I were 8 years old, I was making friends and climbing trees. Ron, the chimp, was nowhere near a forest; he was alone in that cage, being darted and anesthetized over and over for invasive research. Though his charts are sketchy, we know that during that time, he was once anesthetized 16 times in a 5 week period.
In 1998, when Ron and I were 22, I went off to the Amazon for an adventure. He was still in the labs, and was placed in a spinal dynamics study, during which a disc in his neck was removed. Following the invasive surgery on his spine, Ron was not given pain medication for 8 days. When he was given medication, it was only two Tylenol pills.
Mercifully, in 2002, Ron was rescued by Save the Chimps. He was one of the lucky few. Though he had many acres on which to roam with his chimpanzee friends, he chose to stay indoors and form this nest of blankets. This is what Ron did every day, and that's where I took this photograph. Ron died there in 2011, peacefully but prematurely, a common fate for animals used in research. © Jo-Anne McArthur
Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok, Thailand, 2011. The Chatuchak market draws over two hundred thousand visitors each day and is famous for its hundreds of stalls, many of which sell live animals, most of them pets. For the length of a city block, shopkeepers had laid out thousands of fish, eels, turtles, stingrays and other animals in tiny plastic bags along the sidewalk. Some of these creatures can live up to two hours in the bag; others two or three days. Either way, many die before they're sold. © Jo-Anne McArthur
Rabbit Slaughter House. Spain, 2013. Thousands of rabbit bodies are hung in a cooling area at this slaughter plant. This conveyor belt moves the rabbits slowly through the room and out into the packing area. © Jo-Anne McArthur
Binh Long Monkey Farm, Pakse, Laos, 2011. Before monkeys get to laboratories in Europe, China and North America, many are caught in the wild or bred in Southeast Asia in places like this breeding facility. As I walked by each cage in the area for sick and injured macaques, this terrified monkey tried desperately to hide behind the only thing he could - this piece of rebar.
As a result of the investigative work we did in Southeast Asia, which was then presented at the CITES convention in Geneva, two of the three breeding farms we visited were closed down. © Jo-Anne McArthur
The Cruelest Sky. Canada, 2012. One of hundreds of pigs in a transport truck peers out through a ventilation hole. She was slaughtered within an hour or so of this photograph. © Jo-Anne McArthur
Calico Fox at a Fur Farm in Europe, 2011. © Jo-Anne McArthur
Dairy Farm. Spain, 2010. Several times a day, cows enter a large room to be milked at this organic dairy farm. They walk slowly along the paths towards the milking stalls and back themselves in. Men, gathered on a lower level so that they are face-level with the udders, quickly attach milking machines to them. The cows are eager to be milked so that the fullness of their udders can be relieved. They have no babies to do that work, as the calves have been removed from the mothers at birth, to become either veal, or, eventually, dairy cows themselves. © Jo-Anne McArthur
Fan and Cigar, San Sebastian de los Reyes, Spain, 2010. Though the "We Animals" project is about non-human animals, by and large it looks at our relationship with them. It's a sociological study that looks at how we see, and fail to see, animals. Great examples include bull fights, zoos and aquaria, where animals are meant to be the central feature, and yet we are so caught up in our own experiences there that we fail to see the individual. Those animals are often lonely, confined, abused or even—as in this case—summarily executed. We see an object for our amusement, not an individual, who—given the choice—wouldn't be living and dying at our whim. © Jo-Anne McArthur
A Deer in the City, New York City, USA, 2005. The bodies of animals are all around us in many forms. This photograph captures how close we are to them and yet how far away we remain. One way or another, we always carry them with us—even wild creatures in the middle of a city. © Jo-Anne McArthur
Restraining Jackets, The Coulston Foundation, Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA, 2008. After Save the Chimps bought the Coulston Foundation in 2002, I was invited to visit the site and photograph the remaining tools and paperwork, chilling memorabilia from the decades-long research that had happened there. I photographed all manner of restraints, including jackets like these, most of which were still stained with blood. © Jo-Anne McArthur
We Animals, Book Cover. © Jo-Anne McArthur