For Immediate Release:
January 5, 2022
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Festus, Mo. – Today, PETA was in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to hold Tonia Haddix—the onetime owner of chimpanzees held at the former Missouri Primate Foundation (MPF) breeding compound in Festus, Missouri—accountable for failing to relinquish the chimpanzee Tonka, as required by a consent decree reached in July 2021. Judge Catherine D. Perry acknowledged that a mystery surrounds Tonka’s disappearance and found that Haddix was unable to prove that Tonka is dead, as she has claimed. Because Tonka’s whereabouts are currently unknown, Judge Perry did not hold Haddix in contempt but left the door open for PETA to find evidence that Tonka is still alive and to file a new motion, with the aim of getting him moved to the same sanctuary where the other chimpanzees removed from MPF are now thriving.
Below, please see a statement from PETA Foundation Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Animal Law Jared Goodman:
The court agreed that Tonia Haddix’s story doesn’t add up and called her out for making inconsistent and implausible statements, so PETA’s search for Tonka will continue. His chimpanzee companions are finally out of the Missouri Primate Foundation’s and Haddix’s clutches after years of deprivation, and if he’s still alive, PETA won’t rest until he joins them at their beautiful, new accredited sanctuary home.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.