The irony is obvious: Advocates pressed the state government into carrying out a police raid on Friday the 13th of October at the Texas sanctuary Primarily Primates, Inc. (PPI). Arriving at the sanctuary within the raid was the attorney Robert "Skip" Trimble, who has long been active with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and who has received an "Activist Award" from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA).
People from PeTA have, by their own admission, been on the Texas sanctuary's premises leading up to a recent series of legal attacks on the sanctuary. Constantly, they have put the sanctuary in as bad a light as possible and attempted to demolish its donor base rather than making efforts to support the long-established Texas refuge. The hearing on the Attorney General's injunction related to the recent raid, set for the 27th of October, will be the next indication as to the nonhuman residents' future. Alternating news reports have suggested that the legal attacks on the sanctuary are meant to result in the return of several chimpanzees to a laboratory or to Chimp Haven, an institution that holds both apes and the titles to the apes under the auspices of the NIH.
Once, PeTA vocally supported Primarily Primates. But in recent years, there have been spiteful campaigns and takeover attempts involving PeTA and previously by former ALDF president Steven Wise. In the wake of a former attempt to freeze PPI's assets, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts imposed a six-month suspension on Wise from law practice for "multiple serious ethical violations" which the Court found were motivated by Wise's "selfishness and anger."
In an effort to wrap the attacks in the clothing of activism, recent legal attacks on PPI have named nonhumans as plaintiffs. This has had the predictable and troubling effect of forcing a sanctuary to rebuff such arguments and protect the residents under existing property law. (To understand why PPI has argued under existing property law, imagine that someone tried to take your cat away to an institution. No matter how energetically you would support a precedent for nonhuman personhood in the right case "“ for example, against an institution that exploited animals, you would acknowledge that under current law the cat belonged to you -- so you could protect and shelter your cat.)
Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral stated: "Friends of Animals is the one group left on earth that gives a damn about whether Primarily Primates and its nonhuman residents have a stable home, and that it's not ruined in a long-running vendetta or in a bid for someone's personal reputation in getting an unusual plaintiff on record. We're staunch supporters of nonhuman rights and specifically apes' rights. But sanctuaries, which nonhuman animals must have to move out of exploitation, just aren't the place for the law to establish a true animal-rights case."
To support Friends of Animals' work to ensure that the sanctuary survives this most recent onslaught, please contribute to:
Friends of Animals
Attn: Sanctuary Support
777 Post Road
Darien, Connecticut 06820 U.S.
You will be sent a written acknowledgment and we will notify Primarily Primates of your investment in their residents' future.
All contributions, bequests and gifts are fully tax-deductible in accordance with current laws.
Friends of Animals, headquartered in Darien, Connecticut, has been a global leader in animal rights advocacy since 1957.