Written by PETA
As if we needed another reminder that wild animals are not wind-up toys, a capuchin monkey reportedly being kept as a "service animal" by a man in Chesapeake, Virginia, bit the man so severely that he had to be hospitalized. A video that aired on a local news broadcast showed the monkey's cage and the floor surrounding it sprayed with the man's blood.
Dangerous attacks are just one of the many downsides to keeping primates as "pets" (remember Travis?) and/or using them for assistance or therapy. Monkeys who are trained for Helping Hands, an organization that provides monkeys to quadriplegics and other physically disabled people, are torn away from their mothers within days or weeks of birth—separations that are extremely traumatic for both mother and baby. Because monkeys are known to be prone to biting, some or all of the monkeys' teeth are usually pulled. (The Chesapeake man apparently did not obtain his monkey from Helping Hands, because the monkey's teeth appear to be intact.)
Capuchin monkeys are intelligent and highly social animals who naturally live in groups and spend most of their time in trees. In the jungles and forests where they belong, capuchins raise families and have intricate communication systems. They race through tree canopies with astonishing speed and accuracy. Because they are extremely active, messy, and destructive, captive capuchins often spend much of their time confined, alone, to cages—a far cry, both literally and figuratively, from their vibrant jungle homes.
No one can debate the tremendous challenges faced by disabled people, but forcing monkeys to bridge the gap is not the most humane—or the safest—answer. With so many people having lost their jobs during the economic downturn, it seems like it would make more sense to hire them as "helping hands" than to continue to force monkeys into a lifetime of servitude far from their families and natural habitats.
Written by Alisa Mullins
When it comes to weekday talk-show fare, it's no surprise that I'm partial to Ellen and Oprah. Today, however, some props go out to Tyra Banks for following up on a feature that set off alarm bells here at PETA.
A few days ago, The Tyra Banks Show aired a segment about a woman who gushed about her "pet" capuchin monkey. Sure, capuchins are cute and smart, but the "Joe Blows" who buy baby monkeys soon realize that they cannot control the strong animals after they outgrow their diapers. Case in point: Oprah's recent interview with Charla Nash, who barely survived an attack by her friend's 15-year-old chimpanzee, Travis. And while capuchins are much smaller than chimpanzees, they are still very strong and very fast, and they have extremely sharp canines that can quickly do a great deal of damage to an unwitting person.
Consequently, many monkeys are discarded at pseudo-sanctuaries and shoddy roadside zoos because there simply aren't enough reputable sanctuaries to care for them all. Some species can live to be well into their 50s, and many primates who are abandoned by their "owners" face decades of misery in appalling conditions.
We wrote to Tyra Banks to express our concern that some viewers might be tempted to purchase a monkey of their own after seeing the segment on her show. We're heartened to learn that she's added a warning on her Web site stating, "Please note, PETA has contacted the show and does not recommend keeping monkeys as pets."
Folks, please let other people know that when it comes to capuchins and other exotic animals, the most humane action is always: "Monkey see, monkey do … not buy one!"
Written by Karin Bennett
Earlier this year, Travis, a 15-year-old "pet" chimpanzee, was stabbed repeatedly, pounded with a shovel, and finally shot to death after he attacked a Connecticut woman named Charla Nash. Yesterday, Ms. Nash, who has been in a hospital since the attack, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and spoke for the first time about her recovery. During the show, Nash declared her readiness to move on and said that she had an optimistic outlook on the future.
The images of Nash are shocking, her buoyant hopefulness is inspiring, and both of those points should prompt another look at Travis' trajectory from his days as a baby chimpanzee to his years as a confined adult "pet." Travis, who appeared in several commercials when he was an infant, was just one of many exotic animals who have been torn away from their mothers at a young age in order to be raised by people who don't fully understand their needs.
Once chimpanzees reach adolescence, they become too strong and aggressive for their guardians to handle. They are then often abandoned at roadside zoos or—as was the case with Travis—stay in the home of a person who remains unaware of their tremendous strength until it's too late.
Chimpanzees and other exotic animals were never meant to be confined to people's homes, and keeping them as "pets" can often be lethal to both the animals and those who live near them.
Written by Logan Scherer
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.