Frequently Asked Questions
Why should we be concerned about animals when there is so much human need?
It is easy to forget that the delicate balance of nature is dependent upon the existence of diverse varieties of plants and animals. Each has its role in maintaining our ecosystem. The very activities of their daily lives benefit the ecosystem by stimulating new plant growth while foraging, excreting seeds, providing pest control, and fertilizing forests. These activities ultimately provide both food and oxygen to us. When we advocate for other animals and their habitats, we are advocating for human animals as well.
As we express our compassion for the misfortunes of human suffering, we cannot ignore the truth that the animal kingdom also suffers at our hands. We humans create their problems and, at the same time, upset the balance of nature by so doing. Above and beyond our self-interest, they are living, thinking, feeling beings who belong here as much as we do, and who deserve to live the lives that they are intended to live rather than that which we impose upon them.
Because we humans are primates, nonhuman primates are all too frequently victims of their similarity to us. Because of our biological, genetic, behavioral, and intellectual similarities, they are used on our behalf in ghastly pharmaceutical, biomedical, biotechnical, cosmetic, product and behavioral research. In entertainment, they are victims of our fascination with them. We need to search our souls and ask ourselves if our needs, fascination, and amusement are fair trade-off to depriving them of their natural lives. We don't think so.
More than two-thirds of the world’s population of primate species are threatened by extinction. That means over 66 percent of all primate species could be extinct in 20 years. All nonhuman primates are threatened by habitat loss caused by human activities.
Don't the businesses that "use" these animals care for them or make provisions for them afterwards?
There are no automatic systems to help animals; no cash reserves set aside on their behalf; no provisions for their care upon their retirement from service. Click here for the most current information about how many nonhuman primates live in US research facilities. The numbers will astound you.
What we do not know is how many might make it out of research alive if there were places for them to go. Retirement is not an automatic provision for research primates. They are retired when their caretakers develop relationships with them and are driven by those bonds to save them. Retirement is only provided to research primates if they are rescued and if there is space for them in a sanctuary. More often than not, they are recycled back into invasive research studies or they are killed for space.
How many non-human primates are in the United States?
What can I do to help?
Until those who generate revenue into the economy (tax payers) are appalled enough about the conditions that are imposed upon animals to step up to the task and assume responsibility for them, there is little motivation for better legislation or enforcement, and surely no impetus for constructing and financing facilities to care for the animals that are the fallout of abuse, neglect, greed, curiosity, and commerce.
Let your legislature know that you support humane treatment of all animals, including pets, those on farms, in food production, in research, and those in entertainment, circuses, on TV, in movies, and in zoos. A 2015 Gallup Poll reveals that almost a third of Americans, 32%, believe animals should be given the same rights as people, while 62% say they deserve some protection but can still be used for the benefit of humans. This strong animal rights view is up from 2008 when 25% thought animals' rights should be on par with humans'.
With these numbers, we are finally seeing legislative shifts on behalf of animals. The court of public opinion is very powerful. Speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.
Click here to learn more about what you can do.
You support means the world to charitable organizations like ours that do what we can on behalf of animals in need, whether through direct care, advocacy, or education. It is our lifeline. Support the non-profit animal care organization of your choice. If you would like to support ours, click here. We would be so very grateful!
I've always wanted a pet monkey. Do they make good pets?
Absolutely not. At some point in our lives, we've probably all thought that it would be fun to have a pet monkey. And then there's reality. Monkeys, apes, and prosimians are not meant to be pets. They are intelligent, autonomous, thinking, feeling beings that do not belong in cages and strongly resist captivity.
When pet-owners acquire baby primates, they have the best intention of treating them as family members. But here's the ugly truth: baby monkeys are stolen from their mothers' arms at just a few days or weeks old to imprint on humans. This is traumatic to both mother and child. The mother will be bred again and again only to suffer this process over and again, resulting in irreversible emotional disorders. The child is never normal after being removed from his or her mother, never developing into a healthy monkey.
Our homes are ill-equipped to handle maturing primates. Their natural curiosity and intelligence turn to mischief and destruction. As they mature, caring for them in human surroundings becomes a challenge at best, and a potential danger for all concerned. Their innate wild behaviors never leave them. They cannot be trained out of them.
It is common for captive primates to have never seen others of their own kind, a phenomenon referred to as "species isolation." Here’s what happens: without the company of their own species, and without appropriate activities, exercise and nutrition, they become depressed, and suffer ill health. Isolation, confinement and boredom can lead to self-mutilation.
Not having the benefit of same species guidance, they fit into neither a human world nor into that of their own species. This confusion, coupled with the physical prowess that accompanies their instinctive defenses, leads to fits of rage.
What all adult monkeys and apes share in common is a set of formidable canine teeth. Some prosimians have toxic bites. Many a pet monkey owner has found their way to the Emergency Room of their local hospital with lacerations far beyond expectations.
To preclude that eventuality, some owners extract their pet’s teeth. Some monkeys and apes have no teeth left by the time they reach sanctuary. They are, thus, sentenced to a lifetime of soft foods, and resulting digestive disorders.
Other pet owners grow wary of attacks, urine-marking, and other unappealing behaviors and seek to find new homes for their pets. Given the substantial financial investment of pet primate ownership, many seek return on their investments and sell them to breeders, carnivals, traveling circuses or roadside zoos, many of which are designed for entertainment, but not for the well being of the animals. Other ex-pets are euthanized as a result of what their owners view as a betrayal after repeat attacks.
The lucky ones are brought to accredited primate sanctuaries, where they can live out their lives with others of their own kind in naturalistic settings.
The best option is to leave nonhuman primates in the wild with their families where they can live full productive lives as they were intended.