“Now we can get on with giving the best possible care to sheltered animals,” says animal advocacy leader.
17 Jan., San Antonio— The Fourth Court of Appeals in Texas yesterday ended an attempt to void a legal transfer of primates from an Ohio lab to the local sanctuary, Primarily Primates.
Two of the plaintiffs are former lab workers who believed the primates belonged in a researcher’s lab at Ohio State University’s “Chimp Center” indefinitely, rather than be transferred to a private refuge.
Speaking from Primarily Primates, Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral said, “After defending the primates’ transfer for nearly two years, we’re glad this wrongheaded lawsuit against the refuge is over, so we can get on with giving the best possible care to the animals Primarily Primates shelters.”
The 20-page opinion, authored by Justice Karen Angelini, says the plaintiffs claimed to be “interested parties” in a trust, but Primarily Primates said no trust was intended in the contract that simply transferred the primates from the lab to Texas, where the refuge agreed to shelter and care for them.
The Appeals Court agreed with Primarily Primates’ view, affirming the order of the trial court in Bexar County, Texas, dismissing the case for lack of standing.
Lee Hall, legal director of Friends of Animals, stated, “Predictably, the ill-advised suit against Primarily Primates forced the courts to issue opinions about who owns primates. Because suing a refuge and siding with a research lab assaults the very core of animal rights, the court’s dismissal of the case is the most animal-friendly outcome possible.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) took the researcher’s side, assailing Ohio State’s “irresponsible rush to discard the chimpanzees who brought such acclaim to the university” and then funding the failed lawsuit.
The chimpanzees involved in the suit were driven to Chimp Haven during the row. Chimp Haven operates under a contract with the National Institutes of Health.
“Obviously it’s time for Chimp Haven to do the right thing: release the chimpanzees from their system and return them safely to the refuge,” Priscilla Feral stated.
Primarily Primates also seeks the return of several other animals removed during PETA’s war on the refuge, including chimpanzees Jackson and Emma, who were temporarily removed to an Oregon site named Chimps Inc. Last June, Chimps Inc. filed a complaint in federal court against Primarily Primates to retain “possession” (property rights) over the pair.