For Immediate Release: March 31, 2006

Wallace Swett of Primarily Primates Denounces PETA's Continuing Attacks on Primarily Primates  

Primarily Primates does not breed, sell or trade or use animals commercially.  We do not use animals for studies or tests.  Over the past 28 years we have given lifetime refuge to thousands of animals who were escaping the possibility of death and had no place else to go.  

PETA, with an annual budget 30 times larger than Primarily Primates, can afford to travel to Ohio to hold lavish press conferences.  We can't.  We are too busy with  the animals our donors expect us to help.  PETA, needless to say, is not among such donors. 

PETA Claims about Primarily Primates are False.

Dr. Vice, the veterinarian on site during the chimpanzee transfer, has an extensive background working with primates, including serving as a staff veterinarian for both the Southwest Foundation in San Antonio and the San Antonio Zoo.  Dr. Vice has provided veterinary medical services for Primarily Primates for over 20 years.  In a press release dated March 3, PETA called Dr. Vice, "a  San Antonio veterinarian who reportedly had little to no experience with primates."   It was Dr. Vice whom PETA hired in 1989 for $1,000 to examine the Silver Spring monkeys.   Thus, the comment about "little to no experience with primates" suggests a lack of credibility in this matter.

The necropsy report, performed by Southwest Foundation, and issued publicly by OSU prior to PETA's press conference, shows that Kermit had heart disease and died from a heart attack.  Kermit was overweight, no doubt partially caused by a lack of exercise in the small enclosure in which he lived  and the unhealthful snacks he was fed.  Candy treats given as rewards for tasks were common.  At Primarily Primates Kermit would have lived in a facility that is 8 times larger and he would have been given a nutritious diet that would have helped him achieve better fitness.  Sadly, we won't have the chance to help Kermit.  The other 8 chimpanzees, however, are doing fine, as are the 3 capuchins.  The former have been placed in compatible social groups and construction continues on their outdoor playgrounds.

Further claims by PETA that Primarily Primates was not prepared for the arrival of the chimps are similarly unfounded.  Planning for this project began last fall, and construction began two months prior to their arrival.  Kermit, due to his weight, was much larger than the other 8 chimpanzees.  A larger transport cage had to be ordered to accommodate his additional weight.  As a result, unlike the other chimpanzees, Kermit required special handling to move him to his permanent enclosure, which also required the need for anesthesia.  All in all the stress was formidable on an ape with undiagnosed heart disease, as it would be on a human with a similar condition.  Kermit did not suffocate as previously reported.  He was under experienced veterinary medical care at all times.  Attempts to resuscitate him failed. 

Last month, a 25-year-old spider monkey, nearing the end of his lifespan, arrived at another sanctuary near San Antonio , to promptly die of a heart attack caused by anesthesia given for a vasectomy.  Jake was to be placed in an enclosure with another male.  Quite arguably, the vasectomy was unnecessary.  PETA's not in the best position to opine about that matter either; the point we're making is that PETA's attacks have been narrowly selected.

Additionally, claims from PETA about conditions at Primarily Primates do not fit with the observations by numerous other recent visitors to our sanctuary.  Dr. Thomas Butler, a recognized veterinary expert in chimpanzees, who for 15 years was in charge of the chimp colony at Southwest Foundation and also supervised the Holliman Air Force Base chimp colony, visited Primarily Primates in November, 2005.  Dr. Butler said, "Based on my observations of the chimpanzees they were both physically and behaviorally healthy.  Care is provided on a daily basis and feed includes commercial biscuits, fruits and vegetables.  The cages have extensive climbing structures as well as manipulanda." 

That is the assessment of an expert, which PETA is in no position to provide, as they do not work directly with chimpanzees.  Primarily Primates has provided sanctuary for chimpanzees for 23 years.

In addition to Dr. Butler, other recent visitors included several veterinarians from OSU, the USDA -- twice within the past 7 months -- and the Jane Goodall Institute last September.  PETA's accusations contradict the reality found by these individuals.

Claims that Primarily Primates Lacks Registration in Bexar County

When  Texas passed a dangerous animal law in 2001, it banned the possession of these animals unless local counties established a regulatory process.   Bexar County , where Primarily Primates resides, voted to ban possession rather than spend county funds to set up a regulatory process.

But the Texas State law provides for several exemptions -- for example, animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation facilities.  Primarily Primates is exempt.  As for the Bexar County registration, the Commissioners did not set up any registration process.  They opted to adopt the exemptions listed in the state law.  

Was PETA's press conference just another wild-eyed, unfounded publicity stunt for which they are so well known?  We think the answer is obvious.

Wallace Swett
Primarily Primates
San Antonio , TX 78255