Here at Animal News the Blogcast, we tend to paint in broad strokes. Is this because we know that our readers have short attention spans? Is this because we don’t actually know what we are talking about? Will some pedant object to my ending that last question with a preposition? The answer to all of these questions is “probably.” However, occasionally, we do aspire to present real news and real perspective, even for Video Lunch.
Do you have a pet? Do you treat that pet as if it were your child, calling it your “baby” and lavishing undo attention on it? No? Well you know somebody who does. There are heaps of people out there who assert that their pets (usually dogs) are equal members of the family and claim that they love them every bit as much as they would love their own children. (It may be important to note that most of these people do not have real children of their own, but that does not make them any less sincere.)
Now imagine the dismay if government agents wanted to take away these pet owners’ “babies.” Well in Louisiana, a case like this has come up, and Jim and Donita Clark have gone on the lam with their “babies,” four capuchin monkeys. They will do anything to keep their monkeys from ending up in the hands of the government, to be separated and sent to zoos.
This issue is very divisive. Most veterinarians and other animal authorities advise against keeping monkeys as pets. Capuchins are particularly intelligent and require a lot of space and stimulation. I personally advise against keeping a monkey because I saw the movie Outbreak. But what about people who can and do provide all of the space and stimulation that a zoo would? Before going on the run, the Clarks lived in a house with two dedicated monkey playrooms and a large outdoor enclosure. The monkeys also get more personal attention than a zoo could possibly provide. Not to mention the fact that the transition would likely not be swift and easy for the monkeys.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has stated that they have no intention of confiscating the monkeys, as long as an inspection shows they are well cared for and their facilities are acceptable, but the Clarks don’t trust them. Being crammed into an R/V is doing no good for the people or the monkeys, but what would you do to keep your family together?