The chimpanzees were desperate for food when rescuers arrived. Desmond details a sordid history of what the chimpanzees endured. She points to not only the neglect suffered by the animals after they were placed on the islands, but also to the severe suffering they endured as test subjects. Some of the chimpanzees were anesthetized hundreds of times. It was not uncommon for them to have several dozen painful liver biopsies. Many of the adult females watched their infants die in the program.