Alan Cumming Joins PETA to Announce Legal Action to Release Tonka

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

PETA and award-winning actor Alan Cumming held a news conference in Los Angeles on Friday to announce the organization’s landmark legal case to have 11 chimpanzees currently housed at a dismal holding facility be released to accredited sanctuaries.

PETA is suing the inaptly named Missouri Primate Foundation—a former breeding facility turned decrepit primate encampment—to win the release of all chimpanzees currently being held there, including Tonka, Cumming’s co-star in the 1997 film Buddy, and 21-year-old Connor, who appeared in movies such as Spymate and MVP: Most Valuable Primate.

At Missouri Primate, many animals are denied adequate socialization, environmental enrichment, and veterinary care; are confined to cramped cages that are often soiled with their own waste; and have been forced to live among persistent fly and cockroach infestations—all in apparent violation of the Endangered Species Act.

“Tonka and I developed a close camaraderie during the months we filmed,” Cumming says. “We played together and groomed each other and developed a special relationship I will treasure forever. I am confident the courts will allow Tonka to enjoy some semblance of the life nature intended for him and the other discarded chimps. And I’m in Hollywood today to urge producers to follow the lead of Disney’s Jungle Book, which shows that CGI can not only lead to blockbusters but … spare exotic animals from a life of misery.”

Cumming sent a personal appeal to the owner of Missouri Primate, Connie Braun Casey, asking her to relinquish the chimpanzees, but to no avail.

Please join PETA in calling on the Missouri Primate Foundation to allow all chimpanzees it holds captive to be retired to accredited sanctuaries today.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind