In a move that will delight members of PETA, UL Lafayette announced it will close the New Iberia Research Center and convert it into a petting zoo for endangered species. Under fire in recent weeks from the Humane Society of the United States for alleged cruelty to chimpanzees used in medical research, UL President T-Joe Savoie says he visited the research center and had a life-changing epiphany. “I looked deep into the eyes of Randy, [the oldest chip living at the center] and I realized we are brothers.” Savoie and Randy are both 53 years old. “Could it be?” the dazed university president was heard to murmur as he looked up at the spreading limbs of the massive live oaks on the UL campus.
Savoie plans to take the latest $30 million infusion from pharmaceutical companies funding the medical testing and construct a world class petting zoo to house the 327 chimps, as well as the roughly 6,300 monkeys living there. Visitors will be able to interact unimpeded with the great apes, which are thought to have the intellect of 5 year olds coupled with the strength of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. As soon at the landscaping is completed, Savoie intends to extend an invitation to Tiger Truck Stop attraction Tony, a 6-year-old Bengal tiger who has also been at the center of another animal rights investigation. “I can’t wait until all the animals are living peacefully together,” says Savoie. “I know Randy and Tony and I will be best friends.”