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Be Fair in Primate Case

December 06, 2006 | Chimpanzees / Animal Rights

Copy of Letter to San Antonio Express-News

To the Editor, Express-News:

Pity the Express-News would indulge in puerile and tabloid-like sniping
at Friends of Animals, by dismissing its president's endless work on
behalf of the primates and other animals as a "hatred of PETA"
("Primarily problems at haven for primates"; 19 Nov).

Regarding several chimpanzees who arrived in San Antonio earlier this
year, PETA has supported sending them back to the lab they came from,
and now to Chimp Haven -- an illusory haven indeed, for by law it must
serve as a holding area for the National Institutes of Health. The NIH's
primary function, with regard to nonhuman primates, is regulating and
facilitating their use.

Readers ought to be given a clearer understanding as to the dynamics and
consequences involved when such a critical refuge as Primarily Primates
is disparaged rather than supported. What happens with this case says
much about whether the people of the United States will support true
sanctuaries, or instead condone the continued control of government
agencies and biomedical research firms over nonhuman great apes.

At Friends of Animals, we maintain that nonhuman apes were put on the
planet for reasons of their own. For that, we don't expect to be
welcomed with open arms by everyone in the media, but we do expect
fairness and accuracy. This is especially important in the city that's
been home to Primarily Primates for three decades.

Lee Hall
Legal director
Friends of Animals


Priscilla Feral has committed to keeping Primarily Primates functional as a sanctuary -- a place of refuge and protection. This sustains a positive, not a negative -- to upgrade, as opposed to degrade. I see no reason why this desire to protect, and clear willingness to perform based upon that, should be a point of contention.

I agree about the necessity of fairness. I am very concerned about why the judge seems to be agreeing with everything that PETA wants. Have any requests been made for the removal of this judge from this case? There surely must be grounds for appeals to be made. There is an old saying that justice delayed is justice denied. This case should come to court fast before PPI is completely dismantled. PETA, I understood, was out of this case. Why then did they go to court with Lee Thiessen to request permission to evict Mr. Swett? I am not aware that Mr. Swett has been convicted of anything at this time. This sets a bad precedent if any group can get closed on the basis of a few complaints, especially when made by people who have left animals there. If the sanctuary was so bad, why did Ms. Minchew leave her animals there? I am concerned about how all the big money seems to pour into a few selected sanctuaries, primarily those designed for chimpanzees. It's difficult for most groups to keep up in the face of the few who are so wealthy.

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