Skip to Main Content

R.I.P. Travis

Written by PETA | February 18, 2009

On Monday, a 15-year-old chimpanzee named Travis, who was kept as a “pet” by a woman in Connecticut, went on a rampage and mauled a visitor. Travis was stabbed multiple times, “pounded” with a shovel, and eventually shot to death.

A former “star” of Coca-Cola and Old Navy commercials and an episode of the Maury Povich Show, Travis was “raised almost like a child by this family,” according to a police officer. Great—except that 200-pound chimpanzees aren’t children.

Keeping any wild animal as a “pet” is inhumane and dangerous. There have been scores of incidents in which captive chimpanzees inflicted grave injuries on people. This tragedy illustrates the need for Connecticut to add primates to its ban on potentially dangerous animals—which already includes big cats, bears, and wolves—and we have asked Governor Rell to do that.

Academy Award–winning actor Anjelica Huston has spoken up in a moving public service announcement in behalf of great apes used for entertainment. Check it out here.

Thanks to companies like CareerBuilder and, more recently, Castrol Oil, whose ads show baby chimpanzees dressed up in clothes and “monkeying around” in offices and service stations, many people seem to think of chimpanzees as comical sub-human clowns. They aren’t. They are wild animals who are torn away from their mothers at an obscenely young age and beaten into submission. By the time they are 8, they are big enough and strong enough to fight back, which earns them a one-way ticket to a cage in someone’s basement or a concrete pit at a roadside zoo.

Neither Travis nor any other great ape belongs in show business. Who ends up happy in this story? Were those 30-second commercials really worth a lifetime of confinement in an unsuitable environment that eventually led to a woman’s grave injury and Travis’s death? Click here to take action on this issue.

Please, complain loudly any time you see a primate used in a movie, TV show, or advertisement. To learn more about this issue, you can catch PETA’s Lisa Lange talking about Travis on Bill O’Reilly’s show tonight at 8 p.m. on Fox News.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • Rebecca says:

    I am a very true believer in wild things are ment to be wild. This women will spend the rest of her life tring to over come her injuries and Travis has paid with his life. Murdered by his owner. She admitted to giving him Xanax which makes animals aggressive mins before the attack. Im still sick to my stomatch over this whole ordeal! For the love of GOD pass a law where NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO HAVE WILD ANIMALS!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASEEEEEE for Anmial kind and Human kind both!!!

  • lynda downie says:

    Very thoughtful points Alexander Kerr Feb.22 142AM

  • lynda downie says:

    XO said “They are aggressive horrible creatures.” Bit of an overgeneralization there. Some chimps are aggressive some of the time just as in the case of human animals.

  • Travis says:

    Chimps are ominavoires much like the majority of the human population. Man people do not realize that while the majority of their diet does not include meat that they will eat it given a chance. many discoverychannel documeentaries show footage of monkey hunts where bands of chimps hunt down kill and eat small monkeys. Jane Goodall has recorded at least one incedent where she witnessed a chimp use a rock to crack a wild piglets skull in order to eat the brains. As for more than 90 of Chimps diet being plant products the same can be said for the Brown Bear which is official classed as a carnivore

  • Susan Holmes says:

    Terrible tragic end to a chimpanzees life. It just goes to show that these animals should be allowed to mix with each other and either be allowed to stay in the wild or in a sanctuary. People should not be allowed to have these animals as pets. Though I believe that they should have and deserve rights I do not think it is humane to treat them like this. Very sad indeed.

  • Rose says:

    This chimp bit the nose off the woman’s face and dug out her eyeballs! The EMT’s had no idea if the victim was male or female! There was nothing left to but tho shoot it!

  • Alexander Kerr says:

    God bless you Travis I’m sure you felt betrayed by everyone as you made your way back to your bed to die and hope you have finally found peace over the bridge. Travis was a ‘person’ I believe! In every way that mattered. He loved being loved hated being hated and wanted expression and the sun on his back. Clearly intelligent with a capacity for problem solving as the channel surfing and computer passtimes proved I think Travis had adjusted to his life and even loved his adopted mum. But he still yearned for a life he’d never known and perhaps a mum he could only vaguely remember. I don’t know why he’s called wild in death and why his actions should be so misunderstood. I believe we are all expressions of the same thing. Travis I suspect knew what was going on and for the most part had accepted it his life with Mrs Herold. But yearning is yearning and he was anxious to get out of the house to be outside and he didn’t want to come in. Mrs Herold rung her friend a friend that I suspect in all likelihood had helped with Travis before and sure as eggs Travis knew why she was there. Defensively Travis lashed out at this capable perhaps slightly more dominant friend that had arrived to bring him in. It’s possible he didn’t know her and was being protective but my cat resists going to the vet for a check up and knows before i even grab her cage so I must wonder. Certainly he meant to resist what he saw as an atack. The questions. Did he mean to hurt her as badly as he did? I don’t think so no more than an angry youth kicking someone on the ground means to hit them in the wrong place. P.S. those that doubt ‘awareness’ and the possibility of ‘realisation’ in primates should read studies . But certainly in the heat of the moment he was protecting his mum or indeed his own perceived rights to a freedom he desired. Just like the monkeys in labs that fight as the cage door is opened Travis fought to be free. In a study on Macaque monkeys where in order to get food a monkey had to cause pain to another monkey in plain sight most monkeys chose to starve indicating an understanding and empathy we do not credit monkeys with . Travis’ state of mind could also have been already irritable. We know so much about the effects of bad diet and sugar on humans not to mention what happens when there are deficiencies in our diets. We know the irritability that occurs in our own kids which doctors try to treat with ritilin when in fact diet isn’t right. Our normal companions our dogs and cats need balanced diets. Deny a dog Taurine and magnesium and he or she ends up with heart valve problems. The fact that zantac can make ‘people’ more agressive surely put Travis more out of sorts on this occasion. One concludes that it surely was all predictable and avoidable. I’m sad for Travis but sad also at the lack of awareness in this tale. I’m saddened by the primitologist that said chimps were unpredictable as I know that humans are just as unpredictable to those that don’t understand or know them. There is always a reason for agressive behaviour. But Travis was fighting for his life. The fact that his adopted mum could stab him blows me away. Love could not raise it’s hand. Only fear. Of course you’d try to stop the attack. Either get in the middle or knock him out. I’ve dived between two dogs before to protect my own dog when a Staffy had my boys neck both of us needed hospital after . But stabbing him?? And asking the police to shoot?? She’ll have to live with that and I’m sure if she really loved him she’ll revisit that. I think theres much to learn here. Of course Travis didn’t belong in a house but monkeys are cast away in the U.S. every year and taking Travis in was probably motivated by compassion however misguided. But the real lesson here is the understanding that animals are like us and do not spontaneously kill or attack when their needs are met and that that Travis may have listened to Mrs Herold had he been been happier and had she had him during the potty training age of his life. Studies done by national geographic show dogs contemplate and understand us all too well and because they are pack oriented make great companions as long as they are raised well. Ill treated any animal or human for that matter either submits or bites back. Farewell Travis. I’m sorry we let you down.

  • Petaperson911 says:

    It’s not right that a living thing should be treated with such disrespect! She should be sued if she hasn’t been aleady

  • animalfriend says:

    once i took such antidepressant medication! and the reaction was exactly the contrary to what it promised! i was so aggressive that in the post office i boxed all the waiting people away to be the first in the row! everybody was afraid and angry! i knew exactly that i did something horrible but couldn’t do anything against it! so i’m 100 pct sure that travis’ reaction was caused by this medication and who knows on what kind of a species it was tested before? furthermore it’s clear that animals have their own reactions even cats and dogs and this point is largely misunderstood by humans qualifying the animals reaction in the wrong way in saying that it’s dangerous or mean but it’s just reacting according to its’ own species with all its’ teeth and the rest!

  • Dana Everett says:

    This is totally wrong to have taken the life of the chimp. It wasn’t his fault that the stupid person didn’t follow the rules of the humane keeping of wild animals. The person should have been reprimanded not the chimp. He did not know any better.What if that had been a child that would have behaved like that would that have been alright to take the child’s life too?

  • XO says:

    Xanax. And has any one seen real life footage of chimps in the wild? Thay are aggressive terrible creatures. Why would you think that in captivity they would be any different. They will violently kill an entire other tribe of chimps to take over a tree. They are horrible little creatures and people should leave them to their own devices in the jungle.

  • Erik Waterman says:

    I hope you also post comments that probably are not PETA’s choice but if you do well here it is. This womans face was literally torn off by the Chimp. She would have died had they not killed the chimp. Yeah maybe she shouldn’t have had the chimp as a pet but the fact remains that she did have the chimp for a pet. So…given that fact is there any sympathy for the poor woman who almost died and now has to live with a horribly disfigured face? She was an innocent bystander. So I ask you this question and I am not being sarcastic Does PETA as a whole value an animal over a Human Life? This is a real question. I have a dog and a cat and a bird and love my pets. But if my dog attacked my 9 year old son viciously I would not think twice about killing the dog because my Son’s life a Human is more important than an Animal.Food for thought.

  • katie says:

    it was zyantic an antidepressant… theres some kind of phycological problems with someone who gives anti deppressants to an animal i mean what the hell?

  • mary says:

    I am sickened by this. This sick sick sick woman needs to be punished for what she has done. Why was this poor defensless animal allowed to be torturted by living in her house all this time? I am so confused and broken hearted by this cruel situation. She should be punished just on the grounds of forcing him to live with her. She should be brought up on murder charges and PETA needs to make a stand!!! PLEASE

  • Amanda says:

    An animal shouldnt be held in captivity. He walked around with a diaper on…a freakin leash and everything else that is not his REAL world and he finally just said “Screw it” and attacked. I dont feel sorry for any human hurt by an animal that should be with his FAMILY