Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Chimps Inc. Struggles to Retain Custody of Emma and Jackson.

A court battle is taking place for the custody of two chimpanzees - Emma and Jackson. They are currently residing at Chimps Inc. in Bend Oregon. The lives of these two wonderful creatures hang in the balance.

To meet Emma and Jackson, click on Emma and Jackson Video.

I know and respect this organization. I strongly encourage you to donate. You can do so at Donate to Chimps Inc.

Here is the latest Report from Paula Muellner of Chimps Inc.

"Chimps, Inc. is the new home for two young chimpanzees, Emma and Jackson. Emma and Jackson are 5 and 6 years old, respectively, and arrived from San Antonio, Texas in March 2007. Their former home was Primarily Primates, Inc. (PPI), a facility that came under scrutiny in the first half of 2006 following years of complaints of poor sanitation, substandard caging, serious neglect, and endangering the welfare of the over 700 animals they housed (including over sixty chimpanzees). Chimps, Inc. offered to adopt Emma and Jackson in order to rescue them from the conditions we witnessed on three visits, and to help alleviate the burden of overcrowding at PPI, and to allow PPI an opportunity to improve its conditions. We brought Emma and Jackson to their forever homes here at Chimps, Inc. and integrated them into our chimpanzee family group. We gave them free access to our extensive and protected indoor and outdoor environments, and connections with maternal figures and other chimpanzees to assist with their physical and emotional development. They have truly flowered at their time with us.

The Texas Attorney General filed an action against PPI in October 2006, and that case was dismissed for unknown reasons in the last days of April 2007. Despite our legal right to care for Emma and Jackson, as well as our ethical and moral obligations to do so, PPI has been aggressively demanding that we return Emma and Jackson, as well as many of the animals that were transferred to other facilities, and who are living good lives in new homes. Because PPI threatened to continue its efforts and to sue us, we had no choice but to ask a court to stop PPI’s efforts so that we could continue their care and rehabilitation here. We have demonstrated to the court the immense harm it would cause to these young animals if they were to leave us, as well as our legal rights to continue our work with them. That is, not only does PPI have no legal right in the chimpanzees, Emma and Jackson would surely suffer psychological and emotional distress and anxiety if they were returned, in addition to once again being subjected to inferior living conditions.

Chimps, Inc. sent its professional staff to PPI prior to Emma's and Jackson’s arrival here, and the staff witnessed firsthand the state of the facilities:

“…Emma and Jackson were [initially] housed in a small indoor/outdoor enclosure that was attached to a residential garage…the ground was dirt and gravel, and in no way appeared comfortable to walk or sit on. The foul odor of urine and feces near the doorway was overwhelmingly strong…”

“…they were kept isolated and miles away from all other chimpanzees. They had no physical, visual, or even auditory contact with any conspecifics, other than each other…”

“…The lighting and ventilation were poor. When the doors were closed for the night at around 4 p.m., the chimps were in complete darkness until the next morning when the door was opened again…”

Today, Emma and Jackson are provided with novel enrichment, access to the indoors and outdoors each day, and fresh produce and blankets -- all things they were denied at PPI. Most importantly, they live in flexible social groups that allow them to interact, bond, groom, and play with our adult chimpanzees at all times, fostering healthy and normal chimp behaviors. The profound and enduring bonds that have been engendered among our eight chimpanzees play a vital role in their long-term psychological health. Separating this family would inflict emotional suffering every bit as powerful as breaking up a human family – on all members, especially Emma and Jackson."

"Any society which does not insist upon respect for all life must necessarily decay."
~Albert Einstein

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