Expertise needed

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I am writing with regard to your recent article concerning the undercover investigation of Sid Yost’s Amazing Animal Actors facility. As a primatolgist (one who specializes in primate behavior and evolution), I was outraged at your one-sided piece portraying the work done to uncover the chimp abuse at the training ranch. I have read the report by Ms. Baeckler (which is available at: www.chimpcollaboratory.org/news/testimony.asp) and I believe her testimony over the patronizing statements of Mr. Yost. I do not believe that she is, as Mr. Yost implied, just another animal rights activist with an agenda because

in addition to her scientific credentials and those of the members of the Chimpanzee Collaboratory, she has provided ample details which can easily be verified in an independent investigation. When you mention that two visits (one unannounced) took place, is it your observations that you are reporting? It wasn’t clear from the article, but with due respect, I don’t think that you have the experience to be able to interpret chimpanzee behavior. A chimp fear grin looks like a human smile though it is far from one. Did you look at their teeth? Have any of them been removed or knocked out? Are they missing hair? Why were you not able to see all of the chimpanzees?

In addition, you suggest that if abuse had indeed taken place, she would have provided video evidence. As you probably know (should know as a journalist), video-taping without consent is illegal. Doing so would have rendered the evidence useless in court. I invite you to research the facts carefully and provide a balanced story.

Adriana Martin

Leipzig, Germany