An emergency stay has been filed in the case of a Missouri woman who has been ordered by a judge to hand her six chimpanzees over to the controversial People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Tonia Haddix was ordered relinquish the beloved chimps over to the organization earlier this month. She is not allowed to say what day PETA is coming to take them, per the court’s order, and is not allowed to be present at the property or film when they do.
Haddix inherited the chimps from a woman named Connie Casey who ran the Missouri Primate Foundation, once she became unable to continue caring for them. Since then, Haddix has dedicated her life to making sure that they stay together and happy for their remaining days — as many of them are quite old.
The Gateway Pundit traveled to the sanctuary where Haddix houses these chimps on Saturday and witnessed the incredible bond that she shares with these intelligent and emotional primates. The enclosures were massive, impeccably clean, and the animals appeared to be having a blast as they swung high above the tree line on the tire swing and ropes suspended from the several story tall custom built habitat in Festus, Missouri.
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When the chimps would move from their outdoor habitat into the cool air conditioned indoor enclosures, all of which were connected through a complex tunnel system, Haddix communicated with them using sign language as they told her what snacks they wanted to eat — or asked her to hand over her water bottle.
Looking around at the beautiful surroundings, it was hard to imagine a better situation for these animals, short of having been born in a jungle that has not been destroyed by deforestation.
PETA launched their first lawsuit against Casey in 2016, claiming that MPF was violating the Endangered Species Act. They have since carried their lawsuit over to Haddix, despite the fact that the concerns they had about Casey no longer applied.
Originally, PETA only wanted to take four of the chimps — indicating they were not actually concerned about the level of care being provided by Haddix. It was only after Haddix had not complied with court orders that they wanted all of them.
In the emergency stay request, Haddix’ attorney John Pierce argued that if PETA was genuinely concerned about the chimps, they would allow at least the two young females, Crystal and Mikayla, to remain in her care.
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The filing explained that Dr. Savage-Rumbaugh, one of the world’s foremost experts on chimpanzees, has interacted extensively with Crystal and Mikayla, and has observed Haddix interacting with the two chimps. Based on her observations, she believes that the chimps are safest remaining where they are.
Savage-Rumbaugh has argued that “adolescent female chimps raised primarily with humans—such as Crystal and Mikayla—are likely to be injured, raped, or killed by unfamiliar chimpanzees.”
“Further, female chimpanzees suffer ‘severe psychological stress’ when placed among unfamiliar chimpanzees, which can cause them to ‘simply stop eating and die of depression,’” the expert has explained.
The filing explains that Dr. Savage-Rumbaugh has said “both Crystal and Mikayla will be at a very high risk of injury or death if they are removed from Ms. Haddix’s custody, transferred to the Center for Great Apes, or introduced to unfamiliar chimpanzees.”
“Accordingly, [she] strongly recommends against either removal of Crystal or Mikayla from Ms. Haddix’s custody or transfer of Crystal or Mikayla to the Center for Great Apes,” the filing says.
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The veterinarian that treats Haddix’ animals, Casey Talbot, DVM, filed an affidavit during Haddix’ contempt hearing earlier this month saying that the chimps will not be safe if they are moved to the Center for Great Apes — a sanctuary that works with PETA.
“It is my understanding, based on conversations with Ms. Haddix, that Crystal and Mikayla have had minimal contact —and thus, have not been socialized— with other chimpanzees. From my own observations of Crystal and Mikayla, it is my belief that neither Crystal and Mikayla are particularly assertive,” Talbot wrote. “On this basis, It is my belief that Crystal and Mikayla would be at significant risk of injury, including serious injury, if they were to be introduced to chimpanzees with whom they were unfamiliar.”
Just last year, three chimps that PETA obtained through a similar lawsuit were killed at the sanctuary the organization sent them to.
Michael Robison, who runs SPARTN small primate rescue in Tennessee, spoke to the Gateway Pundit last month about the chimps that were killed due to PETA’s efforts.
“They’ll take these chimps that have been bonded, like our chimps that have been together for at least 25 years, and they’ll break them up and try to introduce them to a new troop somewhere,” Robison explained. “Project Chimp took three of ours last year and all three got killed.”
Robison explained that this happened because they were placed in a troop that did not accept them.
“They’re claiming that they’re doing all this because of the welfare of these chimps, but in the end, it’s all for grant money,” he said. “It’s all monetization.”
“They’re not looking at these chimps as a family unit, who have the same emotional, mental, and physical needs as a human being. It’s like taking kids into foster care,” he explained. “They bounce these animals around over and over again and they never integrate.”
“They become depressed. They stop eating. They stop interacting. They just wither away,” Robison added.
Will Coggin, managing director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, who runs the website PetaKillsAnimals.com, said that while he is not familiar with this specific case, “given PETA’s unapologetic mass killing of pets and belief that animals are better off dead than in human care, the chimps might prefer their current living arrangements.”
Indeed, in 2006 PETA sued to stop the importation of several elephants from Swaziland to U.S. zoos. The organization’s lawyers argued the elephants would be better off dead than in human care with proper food, shelter, and medical care.
The emergency filing also noted that Haddix did not have adequate counsel to fight back against the well-funded organization, as approximately 85 attorneys refused to take her case and go against the supposed animal rights organization.
Eventually, John Pierce of the National Constitutional Law Union Inc. (NCLU) agreed to represent her and fight back against PETA’s bullying. He is currently representing a number of January 6 protesters, the family of Jake Gardner, a Marine combat veteran who tragically took his own life after being wrongfully charged following a self-defense shooting during a Black Lives Matter riot, former Donald Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as Amanda Ensing, a Latina beauty influencer who was defamed and “cancelled” by Sephora for conservative social media posts.
“Tonia Haddix is an animal lover who, for the past three years, has been the primary caregiver to Crystal and Mikayla, two young chimpanzees. Ms. Haddix and the two chimps have developed deep and abiding bonds—they are family. Ms. Haddix sees her mission as protecting Crystal and Mikayla from anyone who would do them harm,” Pierce told the Gateway Pundit. “For the past several years, PETA has been trying to rip Crystal and Mikayla from their home and family and put them in a so-called sanctuary. Yet, in pursuit of its radical agenda, PETA disregards the fact that removal will put Crystal and Mikayla at extreme risk of injury, psychological trauma, and even death. As their protector, Ms. Haddix has been standing alone against PETA for nearly three years.”
“Now, she stands alone no longer. Pierce Bainbridge and the NCLU have stepped into the breach to protect Crystal and Mikayla from PETA’s predations. Now, Crystal and Mikayla have a new ally in the fight against PETA’s agenda-driven litigation,” Pierce continued.
The stay request filed by Pierce states that, “Here, the policies of the ESA will best be served by granting the stay because, as explained above, staying the trial court’s order is the course of action that is most likely to preserve the health, safety, and lives of Crystal and Mikayla during the pendency of this appeal. (See Savage-Rumbaugh Decl.) Accordingly, the public interest factor militates strongly in favor of staying the district court’s order.”
Haddix has told The Gateway Pundit that she will appeal the decision all the way to the Supreme Court if she has to.
Those who wish to contribute to the historic legal battle against PETA to save these chimpanzees can do so here.
The Gateway Pundit will continue providing updates as this case progresses.