For Immediate Release:
June 23, 2021
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
Licking, Mo. – Today, PETA sent an urgent letter to Aya Katz—a vlogger who keeps a chimpanzee named Bow in her Texas County home as a “pet” and posts videos of him “grooming” her hair and face—urging her to stop engaging in direct contact with Bow and denying him interactions and friendships with others of his own species and to make plans to transfer him to an accredited sanctuary as soon as space becomes available.
PETA warns that it’s only a matter of time before such close contact with a chimpanzee could turn deadly—just last weekend, a privately owned chimpanzee named Buck was shot and killed by Oregon police after he attacked his owner’s daughter—and notes that only an accredited facility can provide Bow with suitable living conditions.
“‘Pet’ chimpanzees are ticking time bombs, and engaging in direct contact with Bow could be a death sentence for him—and any humans nearby,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA asks Katz to give Bow the greatest gift she can: the opportunity to play, groom, and socialize with other chimpanzees.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Katz follows.
June 23, 2021
Aya Katz, Ph.D.
Director of Research, Project Bow
Dear Dr. Katz,
I’m writing to you today on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) regarding the chimpanzee Bow. You likely heard about the tragic killing of another “pet” chimpanzee named Buck who was kept by Tamara Brogoitti in Umatilla County, Oregon. Buck was shot and killed by local law-enforcement authorities earlier this week after attacking Brogoitti’s daughter, who was severely injured. As you well know, Buck’s killing is not the first time a chimpanzee in private hands has been killed after attacking a human, but we hope that it will be the last. With that sentiment in mind, we strongly urge you to immediately stop engaging in direct contact with Bow, and to make a plan to place Bow in an accredited sanctuary as soon as space is available.
Continuing to engage in direct contact with Bow will almost certainly mean a death sentence for him, as it was for Buck. It’s not a matter of if Bow will attack a human, but when. It is within a chimpanzee’s nature to be aggressive, and one way they determine social hierarchy is through frequent, erratic, and volatile conflicts. Though Bow has lived in isolation, this behavior is ingrained and it is impossible to predict what may trigger him to react quickly and violently, so if Bow were to escape, he could easily damage property or maim a human in a matter of minutes. No chimpanzee owner thinks the worst will happen to them until it does, as Brogoitti tragically learned this week, and as so many have learned before her. Please, let’s stop this deadly cycle now.
In an accredited sanctuary Bow would be allowed to thrive in a naturalistic environment with other chimpanzees. Imagine Bow living with other chimpanzees… playing, grooming, and socializing with others of his own kind as he was born to do. It would be the greatest gift you could give him. It’s the right thing to do and the most practical next step towards ensuring public safety, as well as your own.
I look forward to discussing options for a plan to transfer Bow to an accredited sanctuary. I hope to hear from you as soon as possible.
Very truly yours,
Brittany Peet, Esq.
Deputy General Counsel, Captive Animal Law Enforcement