Stick Up for Primarily Primates
Struggling to Confirm Refugee Animals’ Right to Exist in Texas
Primarily Primates is in the best shape the sanctuary’s been in three decades. As a Friends of Animals refuge, the expansive site has a renovated infrastructure, beautifully expanded and renovated living spaces for birds and primates, and on-site veterinary support. The doors are open even to chimpanzees owned as pets, a class of primate made tragically newsworthy by the case of a confused adolescent chimpanzee attacking a human being in Connecticut.
We can tell the public how dangerous and downright wrong it is to buy animals and lock them up in cages in their homes. And we can do everything possible to stop it from being allowed. But in the meantime, people are still able to do these things, and when the situations go downhill, here come the animals, needing refuge. Animals need Primarily Primates.
Unfortunately, a few lawyers in the animal-advocacy community are, as they have been for well over a decade before Friends of Animals stepped in to save the refuge, trying to stop Primarily Primates from taking any more such animals.
The first lawsuit Friends of Animals addressed was filed in 2006 and named nine chimpanzees as plaintiffs, alleging animal abuse. This suit was dismissed for lack of standing, with none of the allegations ever substantiated. A subsequent lawsuit, filed by the Texas Attorney General’s Office at the behest of the same cluster of ill-advised animal lawyers, alleged financial mismanagement. This allegation too proved unsubstantiated, and the attorney general voluntarily agreed to dismiss the lawsuit.
Still, the refuge’s opponents refused to help it move on and gain the support it needs. Instead, they persuaded people living nearby to become suspicious of the sanctuary and to get involved in new lawsuits.
Although these plaintiffs’ lawyers initially refused to explain who was funding the lawsuit, they were later forced to admit at a court hearing that the entire suit is being funded by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
This latest attempt to shut down Primarily Primates’ vital work to support chimpanzees alleges that the sanctuary is violating the state’s “dangerous wild animals” statute. Thus, the suit expects the court to force out of Texas more than 60 chimpanzees, an African lion and several baboons.
Of course, the “dangerous wild animals” statute was meant to stop the trade in undomesticated animals -- not to ruin shelters and rehabilitation sites. Hensley has admitted that Primarily Primates is an animal shelter, but his lawyers continue submitting documents arguing that it’s not. The attorneys then go on to argue that even if Primarily Primates is an animal shelter, it is violating the rules and regulations governing animal shelters unless the sanctuary agrees to pave over its grassy outdoor enclosures with concrete, and separate primates’ family groups and birds who live compatibly today.
It is not clear why People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is spending its donors’ hard-earned money on this litigation, but it is clear that were they to prevail in such arguments, no sanctuary homing certain difficult-to-place animals could exist in the entire state of Texas.
This lawsuit does nothing to help any of the animals in Primarily Primates’ care. Instead, it threatens to take money away from the animals and put it into litigation. That’s immoral. We are asking for your help to stop it. These expensive and time-consuming assaults can continue so long as the animal-advocacy community stays on the sidelines. But that’s not advocating for animals. So, speak out. Raise a fuss. And please, support our sanctuary today.
Kindly send your donation to:
P.O. Box 207
San Antonio , TX 78291-0207
Or make an online contribution: www.primarilyprimates.org