Friday, April 20, 2012

An open letter to Pam Rosaire, the owner of the Tropicana ad chimp

Hundreds of great ape advocates quickly roared their outrage when Tropicana used a 3-year-old chimpanzee in a TV ad for Trop50. Within 72 hours, a sane adult at Tropicana took charge and dropped the ad. I hope Tropicana fired their marketing team and put the disgraced public relations department into remedial training. I think we can pretty well rest assured that Contagious Content, their advertising company, won’t be winning any awards for the most juvenile and exploitative ad since CareerBuilder’s Super Bowl travesty.

But what about the little chimp?

This is Rosaire and one of the
older chimps in her chimp show.
This fate awaits Aiden/Chance.
Aiden was renamed “Chance” by his current owner after she bought him from a family who bought him as a pet. He faces years of performances. Pam Rosaire, Aiden’s owner, uses several chimps in a chimp show. But the others are all large, so Rosaire uses the small tyke to make the real money. And when Aiden isn’t so darned cute any more, Pam will find another baby to bring in show biz money… and the cycle continues.

What if we could stop the cycle of exploitation?

It was a long shot, I knew, but I had to try. I sent a private message to Pam, asking to talk to her. I guess it isn’t surprising that she didn’t respond. So I’ll send this “open letter” to her instead. Hope, as they say, springs eternal.

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Dear Mrs. Rosaire-Zoppe,

You and I both agree that chimpanzees are special. But, beyond that, I’m sure we don’t agree on much. After my childhood living with a chimp trainer, I hate seeing chimpanzees used in entertainment. I’ve been writing a blog for a year, and I’ve found that a lot of people are as sickened by it as I am.

I’m sure that after your life of using chimpanzees to make a living, you despise what I stand for. So this letter may end up in the heap of animal waste that your outfit shovels out, but I thought it was worth the effort…

Can I buy Chance from you, and find a place where he can live his life as normally as a captive chimp can? I would work with the accredited chimpanzee sanctuary community, to place Chance with a stable female who has mothering potential, so he can be a kid again. I would make sure that Chance never worked another day in his long, long life. He would never wear a leash.

I am not rich. Far from it! Like millions of baby boomers, I am struggling to prepare for retirement someday. But if you would agree to sell Chance to me, at a reasonable price, I would try to find the money. I may be na├»ve, but I think people would chip in to bring this little guy to an accredited sanctuary. If they don't… well… you get to keep Chance and I will have learned a hard lesson.

I realize that most sanctuaries would not sanction what I am trying to do. Respectable sanctuaries do not believe in paying for the apes and monkeys they take in, and I think they are right to do that. Paying for primates sets a bad precedent and, besides, they don’t have the extra money. There are too many primates and not enough space. But, I admit, I’m letting my heart take the lead on this and, besides, a sanctuary wouldn’t be paying for Chance. I would be, hopefully with the help of friends.

Do you want to discuss this? Send me an email at chimptrainersdaughter@gmail.com.

Dawn Forsythe

10 comments:

  1. wow. I don't have much but I would consider kicking in to buy Chance if he could get to the Center for Great Apes or another accredited sanctuary. I bet we could get a bunch of people to do that. But what about his care and feeding for the rest of his life? And what about the next baby, and the next...? Can these people just stop exploiting these intelligent conscious beings? Can the laws just be made? Can the breeding stop? Can they just be chimpanzees?

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  2. You raise profound questions. Nothing can stop breeders now, Dana, but I believe the day is coming. I am so heartened by the tremendous response to Disney's CHIMPANZEE. It tells me that tomorrow's generation "gets it."

    In the meantime, Pam has to be wondering how to wind down her operation as she begins to face her own mortality. What will happen to her chimps when she is gone? Anyone who truly cares about their animals will look to their future. Won't they?

    And the rest of us just have to do what we can... Thanks for being one of the people who care.

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  3. As someone that knows them I don't know how you could think Chance would be ok. He sleeps in bed with them, lives in their house...he is all over Pam and loves her. She is with him 24/7. What a cruel thing to do to take him from his mom.

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    1. She is not his mum. If he was poached from the wild his mum, and more than likely, his whole family, will have been murdered in front of him. It is cruel and unnecessary to have a chimp as a pet, let alone exploiting it for money.

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    2. Indeed, what a cruel thing to take a chimpanzee from his mother. And yet, their exploitation in entertainment propagates taking chimpanzees from their real mothers...you know, the ones from their *own species*. Let's face facts: the odds are that Pam and Chance WILL part ways. Chance will become far too big and strong to "sleep in bed with them". Then what fate will he suffer? He should at least have the dignity of a good sanctuary home. He should have the opportunity to be integrated with other chimpanzees before he gets any older and this inevitable outcome becomes more traumatizing and difficult.

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  4. How could someone think it is ok for someone to treat a chimp as a human baby-not only is it not fair to the chimp who obviously was taken from his real mother-but what about the woman who is now without a face + hands @ the hands of an adult chimp. This woman is beyond ignorant-she doesn't love these animals -she is exploiting them. BTW Dawn-don't know if you follow Peter Frampton on FB but he gave a shoutout to CHIMPANZEE today.

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  5. I don't know what happened to Chance's real mother. I know that a family bought him from Savannahland, and then sold him to Pam to recoup their money, but I don't know the details. Regardless, I find it amazing that a person who professes to be a chimpanzee expert (hello, Pam) would think that it's okay to keep a young chimpanzee socially isolated from others, and especially from a nurturing female chimp. And would rather sleep with him, instead...

    I can assure Pam's friend that chimps need to be with other chimps for normal development. Good sanctuaries know how to help "humanized" chimps adjust. They have seen plenty of chimpanzees coming from abnormal living conditions (i.e., sleeping with their owners, or traveling on leashes, or dancing in clown outfits, or much much worse) and they can help them become chimps again.

    Pam's anonymous friend, please encourage Pam to contact me.

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  6. Ms Forsythe, its unfortunate that you have such bad and painful memories of your father, but you cannot base everyone's training methods off of his. Especially considering the time era he was practicing. As time has changed, so have training methods and practices. Working with exotic animals, I have seen many trainers, Ms. Rosaire included. She is one of the best trainers I have seen, utilizing a technique based off of mimicking and reward. I'm sure the response I will receive will be against my facts, but I have been present to see this. Have you? Can you say you have spent any time with her and saw the way her animal family is trained? If we based our positions on subjects on sole cases, we may have some strong opinions. However, in that case, would you base your opinion on air travel on a plane crash? Or baby sitting on an abusive baby sitter? There are bad apples in every bunch, but you have no grounds to stand on speaking negatively against Ms Rosaire. I appreciate your concern for animal welfare, but its rediculous to lump everyone in the same category. Unfortunately, too many people feed into the animal rights agenda without seeing the animal care and treatment themselves.

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  7. Ms Forsythe, its unfortunate that you have such bad and painful memories of your father, but you cannot base everyone's training methods off of his. Especially considering the time era he was practicing. As time has changed, so have training methods and practices. Working with exotic animals, I have seen many trainers, Ms. Rosaire included. She is one of the best trainers I have seen, utilizing a technique based off of mimicking and reward. I'm sure the response I will receive will be against my facts, but I have been present to see this. Have you? Can you say you have spent any time with her and saw the way her animal family is trained? If we based our positions on subjects on sole cases, we may have some strong opinions. However, in that case, would you base your opinion on air travel on a plane crash? Or baby sitting on an abusive baby sitter? There are bad apples in every bunch, but you have no grounds to stand on speaking negatively against Ms Rosaire. I appreciate your concern for animal welfare, but its rediculous to lump everyone in the same category. Unfortunately, too many people feed into the animal rights agenda without seeing the animal care and treatment themselves.

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  8. I know several ape advocates who would love to get into a debate with you about the intrinsic harm done to non-human primates who are pulled from their mothers and turned into entertainers. My inclination, now, is to recognize the futility of discussing this with people who deride efforts to protect chimps.

    Since I wrote my letter/blogpost several months ago, I’ve come to realize that it’s useless to argue with people who enjoy degrading non-human sentient beings. These are the kind of people who don't think that "beneficent slave-owner" is an oxymoron. I realize that I’m not going to change those minds. My hope is to educate the rational people in society so that we can pass laws to protect chimpanzees from people like Ms. Rosaire.

    It’s all part of that dark and devious (dare we say socialistic?) “animals rights agenda” to which you refer.

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