ABC Primetime Special

Tonight ABC Primetime aired a show titled "The Outsiders" which has portrayed primate ownership in the worst possible light and FAILED to report the entire story. It is the most biased article I have seen and demonstrates an incredible lack of journalism . I was actually interviewed by Denise Balona, The Orlando Sentinel reporter who wrote the original story on Lori Johnson and her pet Capuchin, Jessica-Marie. We spoke for about a half hour. She also spoke for more than an hour with my mother-in-law, who owns three capuchins. NOTHING we told her was printed in her article. NONE of the pictures of our large enclosures, or of us with our ADULT primates, mouths full of those beautiful canines. When I later emailed her asking her why nothing we had said was printed her reply was "I had included some of what you said but removed it due to space constraints." How very convenient. The media loves to portray all primate owners as irresponsible lunatics who keep them as "surrogate children." This is FALSE. My primates ARE NOT my surrogates, they are MONKEYS and are cared for as such. I do love them as part of my family the same way that other American families love their dog or cat. I have met with many other owners who also care wonderfully for their primate companions.

This special is the equivalent of airing a show on owners who use their dogs in dog fighting and then state or imply that all owners fight their dogs. Amputating fingers...That is cruel and no owner would condone that. That was one isolated case of a primate with amputated fingers. It probably occured from him fighting with another monkey, not an actual amputation.

About Angelle Sampey and her monkey, Andy...If she would have done the proper research BEFORE acquiring him she would have known that he needed companionship of his own kind or CONSTANT company from her, which her job would not allow her to provide him because of constant travel requirements. If she did not have time for a child because of her job, what made her believe she would have had time for such a high maintanence animal? She mentioned over and over that she KNEW he was lonely. If she knew he was lonely why didn't she get him a mate, or spend more time with him? I also like how she mentioened at the end that she wanted to turn his room into a room for a little girl she was adopting from China...She didn't have time for her monkey, and she wants to bring a child in to her life?

To those people judging monkey owners, don't forget that dogs too came from the wild at one point. In fact there are still wild dogs out there...wolves. Judging by the 4.7 million+ dog bites ANUALLY, in the US alone, dogs aren't very domesticated either. In the end it is how the animals were cared for. I have seen many very well cared for primates, and many well cared for domestics. Arguments can be made in favor or against any and all animal breeds. Yes, some people choose to live their lives with an alternative pet. That does not make us any more crazy, evil, or selfish than the neighbor with a cat, or fish. Monkeys are animals just the same as dogs are. Both having different needs than the other. What needs to be looked at is not the type of animal one owns, but the type of care that animal receives. There are bad owners for ALL animal species. I have seen the sweetest pitbulls who would not hurt a fly, yet the media makes them to be viscious animals. They are not. sadly. It is irresponsible owners who always make the news, and discredit all the other good owners out there. Should there be permits required to own a primate, yes, and many states do require permits. Should they be banned, NO. Bans only punish responsible owners, and monkeys who are bonded with their caretakers and need to be given up because they are no longer allowed where they live. Those acquiring them illegally will continue to do so.

For those that believe that the wild is a much better place should go visit that wild. The greatest threat to monkeys is not the the pet trade but Habitat Encroachment. The monkeys have nowhere to go because human overpopulation is leading to the taking of their land. The people in their native habitats who stole that land now kill them because they continue to eat from their crops and are considered a nuisance. People in poverty stricken areas kill them for food...Add to that equation other predators, drought leading to less food and greater competition amongst each other, and diseases they can succumb to in the wild. These animals are being pushed out of their native land with nowhere to go. The wild doesn't seem so much greater than captivity in a caring environment. Unless you find extinction a better option? Many will say that they belong in zoos and sanctuaries. Remember animal rights groups don't want them in cages at all, including zoos and sanctuaries. Sanctuary and zoo employees work for minimum wage, or free. I am sure for many it is a job just to get by. I am sure few people would want to work cleaning cages day in day out for a living. My point: Many zoo employees don't really care much for the animals, they just need a paycheck. I have spoken to employees at zoos who tell me that they only remain there for the animals, because most other employees don't care. Private owners took up this responsibility willingly, and get rewarded by the close relationship they develop with their animals. Their hardwork is rewarded with companionship, which makes the daily chores worth it. Something zoo employees lack as handling of animals is prohibited in most cases.

Below is a comment made on the ABC site...I could not have said it better myself.
Why does our society refuse to embrace anyone who is different? At one time the black community was ostracized by society because of their skin color. Members of the gay community have been ostracized because of their sexual practices. Other groups of Americans have been discriminated against because of other practices or cultural differences. Why can't Americans "live and let live?" Personally, I don't like snakes. In fact, I am frightened of them and they disgust me. But do I redicule and condemn responsible owners of snakes for their passion and dedication to the species that interests them and they chose to share their lives with? NO! When pet owners fondly refer to their dog, cat, primate, or other pet as their "son" or "daugher," as many pet owners of various species do, it is simply a term of endearment which describes the loving and nurturing relationship they have with their pet. I have heard many dog owners refer to their dogs as their "babies," their "fur-babies," their "kids," or their "son/daughter." The practice of referring to beloved pets with otherwise human terminology is not isolated to primate pet owners, but is a common practice among thousands of animal-loving American pet owners. In no way are these individuals deluded or insane, just very fond of the animals in their care and they chose to refer to them with terms of endearment that refer to the intimacy of the parent/child relationship. Some people don't refer to their pets with this type of terminology, but shouldn't condemn those who do. Few Americans have the dedication and committment required to care for a primate pet due to the animal's complex and specialized needs. But that doesn't mean that the few people who choose to make that type of committment to an animal should be ostracized, punished or condemned for doing so. Let's respect the dedication of these people to their unusual pets and leave them alone!

Have any questions/comments, Send me an Email!