The stone which accuses us

Posted in 29/04/2014

Zoo de BH no Domingo Espetacular

The incident that occurred a few days ago in Belo Horizonte Zoo,  where a father and his baby had been injured by a stone thrown by a young chimpanzee, who was angry and furious  for the life that takes in that place, continues to show the truth of the zoos, which are designed for the amusement of an audience and are also bad for the innocent animals that are trapped there.

On TV program “Domingo Espetacular”, last Sunday, an extensive report was exhibited about this case, but it did not bother to seek the truth.   A supposed expert on primates, a vet from the zoo, showed his lack of knowledge of the beings whom he attends.

The fanciful theory of this Zoo vet, to hide the truth, is that there is a dispute over control of the group of three, among the young chimp and his father: “that was a demonstration of the power of the young against the father.” The same vet made ​​absurd comments about a chimp has the strength of 10 men, who is aggressive, etc, etc.

In reality what is happening at the Zoo is the same that happens in all others, including the sanctuaries. The chimpanzee is a highly intelligent being, who knows he’s being used to entertain humans, knows that he is a prisoner in a confined place, where there is no privacy for him and his family. They know those hours on display are the only time to breathe the air because when the Zoo is closed, at dusk, they are incarcerated in a small room for 14 to 16 hours . Their biology requires them to eat during the day and sleep at night and Zoo time is reversed – they eat the night before sleeping.

It is impossible to think that this chimpanzee, taking that miserable life, days after day, month after month, year after year, are not angry beings and the reasons for their rebellion are the humans who harass and humiliate them, standing outside their tiny enclosure.

In the Sanctuary, in everyone of them, something similar happens when a stranger appears – press, authorities or technical professionals – to visit the site. Stones , sand and feces are thrown to reach those people who invaded the quiet of their home. With us and the keepers they are loving, playful, supportive, loving,  since , in their point of view, we are their protectors and their allies, no matter we are the ones who keep the prisoners .

The first time I took a “bath” of feces of chimpanzees was more than a decade ago when we visited the Veterinary School of the University of Texas, where chimpanzees were subjected to medical torture. The revolt, with even more reason, of those chimpanzee were huge and they demonstrated it  that way , trying to beat us with what they had at hand.

The TV program would have performed outstanding service to the cause of animal defense if the journalists had sought more information with competent people and not only show an anti – scientific opinion of people interested in exploring further, to death, our primitive brothers .

That stone that injured an innocent girl and her clueless father will be the brand that the Zoo will never be able to erase. It is a primate protest against a society that ignores and uses them to its worst purposes .


Dr. Pedro A. Ynterian

President , GAP Project International