If Kim Zanti (“Local facility accused of chimpanzee abuse,” December 4, 2003) thinks she can refute our findings of abusive treatment of the animals at Amazing Animal Actors by visiting the property on two occasions, she is being naïve. Mr. Yost knew he and his facility were under the microscope and would have been on his best behavior when she visited. In contrast, our expert, a trained primatologist specializing in chimpanzee behavior and all its nuances, invested 14 months at the facility and consequently was privy to horrific abuse that naturally would have been shielded from Ms. Zanti.
On the other hand,Tobin does raise a good point about Ms. Baeckler keeping her distance from the chimpanzees. While Ms. Baeckler did have daily contact with the chimpanzees when she was there, she sometimes declined to get more physically involved. If she hadn’t, she would likely have been forced by the trainers to beat the chimpanzees. This is hardly something that should detract from Ms. Baeckler’s credibility.
Liz Clancy Ross
Chair, Public Education Committee