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Steven Wise has been waiting more than 30 years to give chimpanzees their day in court. A lawyer who specializes in animal protection, Wise is widely credited as a pioneer in the animal rights arena: he’s taught classes on the subject at schools including Harvard and John Marshall Law School, has written four books and countless journal articles, and is the former president of the influential Animal Legal Defense Fund.
But it’s only in recent months that Wise’s work has made national headlines.
On Saturday, January 18, a young spider monkey named Brodi was humanely killed in Ohio in order to send his head off for rabies testing, despite the fact that he had recently received a rabies vaccination. His crime was having bitten the thumb of an employee at a car dealership who reached into a vehicle (with permission) to pet the monkey. State law requires the testing to be performed when the animal involved is not domesticated and, unfortunately, there are currently no reliable alternatives to directly testing the brain for the disease.
A very sad ending for a very young life, especially considering several accredited sanctuaries reached out to officials with the offer of quarantine and life-long care for him. Sad as it is, the reality is that his unnatural death was a mostly predictable conclusion to a very unnatural life.
Some sage advice from across the pond, as animal advocates are calling on the government in the UK to help protect monkeys who are kept as pets by banning the trade in primates.
It’s been a busy four months for 20-year-old Jacob Ruehlman. Since September, he has allegedly stolen two pet gibbons in Nebraska, traveled across state lines, been charged in Florida and resurfaced in Vermilion (Ohio) after his pet spider monkey reportedly bit an employee at a car dealership.
Like humans, many animals have close and stable friendships. However, until now, it has been unclear what makes particular individuals bond. Cognitive Biologists of the University of Vienna, Austria, and the University of Zurich, Switzerland, explored the question and found that chimpanzees choose their friendships based on similarity of personality.