I have an interesting concept to propose. Instead of studying how chimpanzees are like humans, can we conduct research on how humans are so similar to the apes? For my first project, I suggest examining “retaliation” as an interaction for dominance. In other words, how does the big mama (or daddy) maintain her (or his) control over the minions?
|At least the apes aren't retaliating|
against the humans... yet.
Chimpanzees, we know, will retaliate against others in their group. The noted primatologist Toshisada Nishida published an article in Understanding Chimpanzees, “Social interactions between resident and immigrant female chimpanzees,” where he discussed dominance relationships among adult females. In his study, he kept careful count of how many times the chimpanzees used retaliation. Sarah Brosnan, in her article “Inequity and Prosocial Behavior in Chimpanzees,” published in The Mind of the Chimpanzee, pointed out that “chimpanzees will attack individuals who fail to respond with support in a fight for which their help has been solicited (de Waal 1982)…”
Humans don’t need the smack of a 2 x 4 board between the eyes to understand that we are (or will be) retaliated against. We respond perfectly well to the threats of the 2 x 4 (as non-human primates do). Most of us, especially those with the most to lose, keep our heads down and mouths shut when the threat of retaliation is in the air.
And I’ve been smelling a lot of that fear lately. Until last night, it wasn’t about retaliation directed against me, but at those with the most to lose. Those with the most to tell.
Many people have trusted me with insider information on various ape projects and organizations. They know about the financial shenanigans or, even worse, about the harm being done to the apes. They want to do what is right. But they fear retaliation from the ape owners and their lackeys.
When people send me information, they ALWAYS ask me for anonymity. Why? I’d like to share some of the more startling comments I’ve received. These comments come from people on the bottom of the dominance hierarchy all the way up the ladder to folks who are well-known and admired ape advocates. Each quote is from a different person.
“I want the truth out there and for donors to realize that [redacted] is a sham, a fraud, yet I'm so worried about the trouble I might get into if found out! Leave it to [redacted] to try and take away freedom of speech... and I'm mad at myself for letting her still yet instill this fear in me even though I no longer have to deal with her on a daily basis.”
“I feel like there is something horribly wrong with the whole field - no exceptions. Hypocrisy is rampant… Please keep everything between you and me.”
“This is off the record please or at least out of the media. I do not want to get in a battle with [redacted], I simply want to continue to help as many [non-human primates] as I can.”
“I've been trying hard to get [redacted] to go public with [redacted], but while they are very upset with her, they are concerned over lawsuits…”
“It was more of a warning as they know [redacted] and her persistence to destroy people overall.”
There’s more, but you get the idea.
Last night, I discovered these people may be on to something. This note landed in my gmail box at 11:29 pm:
Dear Ms. Forsythe,
We have reviewed your blogpost regarding The Gorilla Foundation and plan to respond more formally to the untrue and slanderous nature of some of the statements there. In the meantime, and given the defamatory nature of the claims there, we ask that you remove your post, and refrain from posting more of the same as you indicate in the blog you are planning to do.
If you would like to reveal the source of your information, or share the source document, we could then respond more specifically, and you would be able to share the truth with your audience in a subsequent post.
Penny Patterson, Ph.D., President
Ron Cohn, Ph.D., Vice President
The Gorilla Foundation
I don’t understand why Penny and Ron would need to know the source of my information in order to respond to anything I've written, but it sure reeks, doesn’t it? I will never reveal any of my sources, about anything. But if these two want to respond on the basis of facts, I will be happy to share their statements on this blog.
I thank my lucky stars that people believe in me, and trust me enough to share inside information. This little blog doesn’t have even a miniscule percentage of a percentage of the reach of Sixty Minutes or 20/20, but we are all doing what we can to let the sun shine on the scams and bullshit in the ape research world. As one well-known ape advocate told me recently, “What I cared about was the chimps. [Redacted] and all those people who made their careers off the backs of those chimps and gorillas should be ashamed of themselves.”
I wonder if we could also do some research on the human ability, or lack thereof, to experience shame.
One thing I know is that we most certainly do not need to research bravery. It is exhibited by the donors, the consultants, the caregivers, the inspectors, and the advocates who help us see the truth about ape “research.” I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
My earlier posts about The Gorilla Foundation:Happy Birthday Queen Koko