A Missouri woman has been ordered by a judge to hand her six chimpanzees over to the controversial People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) — despite a dire warning from their veterinarian that they will be in grave danger.
On Wednesday, Tonia Haddix had a contempt hearing before Judge Catherine D. Perry after refusing to turn the chimps that she inherited over to the “animal rights” organization that is notorious for killing animals.
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.
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 apply.
The judge previously ruled that she needed to turn the chimps over to the organization, but Haddix has refused to accept this outcome and will not be giving the animals up without a fight.
“They’re going to have to bring sheriffs, and they’re going to have to bring everything they can,” Haddix told Fox56. “They’re not getting the chimps. They’re not getting them. Now I’ve decided I’m keeping all of them, just for the principle of the matter, because they don’t deserve the chimps.”
The veterinarian that treats Haddix’ animals, Casey Talbot, DVM, filed an affidavit that was submitted to the court on Wednesday 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.”
Chimps, like humans, form strong bonds with the other animals and people in their troops. They spend their entire lives together and when they are seized and placed into new troops their chance of being accepted, and surviving, is a gamble. For older chimps like the ones that Haddix cares for, the risk is even greater.
Michael Robison, who runs SPARTN small primate rescue in Tennessee, spoke to the Gateway Pundit last month about the danger of PETA’s animal grabs and brought up similar concerns.
“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.
Photos of where the six chimps are being kept with Haddix versus photos of the Florida Great Apes facilities reveal that they almost certainly have more space and freedom in Missouri — not that PETA actually cares about the lives of these animals.
The sanctuary where Haddix has them is multi-level and massive — and houses only the six chimps.
The Center for Great Apes houses more than 50 chimpanzees and orangutans at their Florida sanctuary and does not appear to have any structures larger than a single story.
Haddix was told by the court in April that she should obtain counsel. She took the judge’s advice and contacted approximately eighty-five attorneys, all of whom declined to take on PETA and represent her in the matter.
In a motion for a continuance filed by Haddix and obtained by the Gateway Pundit, she wrote “to find an attorney, I searched for ‘litigation attorney’ on Google and began calling the attorneys in the order they appeared in the Google search results. In total, I spoke with approximately eighty-five attorneys, all of whom declined to represent me in this matter. Many of the attorneys I spoke with were solo practitioners or with small firms. I was told that they lacked the resources to represent me, and recommended that I seek representation from a larger firm. However, none of the larger firms I spoke with agreed to represent me.”
“A film executive introduced me to an attorney—Tristen Woods of the Jungle Law Firm—who he believed would represent me in connection with a television project,” Haddix wrote. “However, Mr. Woods declined to represent me.”
Eventually, John Pierce of the National Constitutional Law Union Inc. (NCLU) agreed to represent her and fight back against PETA. 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.
Haddix has been fined $50 a day for over a month over her refusal to grant PETA access to the animals.
Pierce’s firm requested a continuance from the judge during Wednesday’s hearing so that they could be brought up to speed on the case and properly fight back — but Judge Perry appeared to have no interest in what is actually best for these animals. Instead, she once again ordered that they be handed over.
In June, one of the chimps in Haddix’s care passed away from heart complications. She tried everything to save him, and the vet who treated him wrote about all the steps they took in a four page affidavit to the judge. PETA, and the judge, appeared to be under the bizarre belief that the chimp is secretly alive and being hidden by Haddix. There is no evidence that this is the case.
The affidavit from her vet, obtained by the Gateway Pundit, can be read in full below.
Haddix broke down in court as she described her efforts to save the chimp, Tonka, who she loved dearly.
The judge remained unmoved and sided with PETA. They also ordered that Haddix was not allowed to share when the organization would be coming for the chimps or film the removal process.
Pierce has said that they will be appealing with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals — and possibly taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court if they have to.
More information on how PETA kills animals in their care can be found here.