Tag Archives: “Ted Charney”

Show Me The Monkey!

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Sculpted by Hugo Rheinhold and first publicly exhibited in 1893 at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition, this sculpture both amuses and intrigues. As the monkey contemplates a human skull, he rests on a pile of books--one of which is by Darwin, the naturalist whose theory about evolution is legendary.

Sculpted by Hugo Rheinhold and first publicly exhibited in 1893 at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition, this sculpture both amuses and intrigues. As the chimpanzee contemplates a human skull, he rests on a pile of books–one of which is by Darwin, the naturalist whose theory about evolution is legendary. Technically,  a chimpanzee is not a monkey – the genus Pan is part of the subfamily Hominidae, to which humans also belong,

Written By:  Heather Clemenceau

As most everyone knows, the hearing to establish where Darwin the IKEA monkey lives (at least until the scheduled trial in May) has come and gone.  While Superior Court Justice Brown found that the plaintiff, Darwin’s former owner Yasmin Nakhuda had “credibility issues,” the court of public opinion also played out on Facebook pages supporting Nakhuda and private ownership of exotics.

The hearing itself was prone to the odd verbal blunder or embarrassment that might have prompted a chuckle or two, but many of the Facebook posts  made by exotic animal collectors,  conspiracy theorists,  or other perpetually misguided individuals amused,  entertained,  and exasperated many observers.

While it’s hard not to laugh at the delirious craziness and massive cognitive errors in many comments or posts, many other posts clearly constitute harassment against the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary and its supporters.

The Debate Beginsmonkey_makeup

In late December, the “Darling Darwin Monkey” page is created on Facebook and immediately attracts people who both support and decry exotic ownership in varying degrees.  “Monkey Mom” leaves most of the arguing up her supporters, some of whom were banned from the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary’s own Facebook page.  Judging by the hysterical shrieks seen on the DDM page, I totally get why they were kicked to the curb.

I realize that lawyers are not biologists, nor do they know anything about the scientific method, so I won’t be too hard on the plaintiff’s lawyer Ted Charney.  Mr. Charney began his opening remarks at the hearing by somewhat likening Darwin, the monkey, to his namesake,  “scientist” Charles Darwin,  who,  according to him,  “invented evolution.”  What Darwin  – a naturalist – actually provided in The Origin of Species, was the theory for how evolution could occur through purely natural forces – “natural selection,” which he posited drove evolution.

The Debate Continues

Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of a conspiracy theory or logical fallacy, which obey their own special laws.  So when it looks like someone who is armed with facts is about to upset a cherished applecart on the DDM Facebook page, there is only one thing to do – move the goalposts.  The phrase evokes an image of the goal posts in the endzone of a football game which are slowly moved to the back of the endzone as one team threatens to score.  Behind this Facebook squabbling there has been some serious goalpost maneuvering, in an effort to redefine exactly what constitutes “proof.”  One of the best examples of this in action occurs during the discussion of the donated plants in the monkey habitats, where it was constantly claimed  that the plants weren’t actually donated,  or weren’t valued at $3,000, were never placed in the habitats, or just didn’t exist.   Each time proof was provided the goalpost was moved back further in an attempt to confound the truth.

howler monkeysThe Debate Gets Ridiculous

The Facebook page in question continued to offer a veritable treasure chest of “wisdom” in refuting the truth.  It’s a place where no good deed goes unpunished and common sense is not so common.

People making the following types of comments/actions are truly in a race for the bottom.  Check out their “field guide” for dealing with the intellectually honest:

  1. Always make sure to bring minor children into arguments with adults with the blessing of the parent, and then have the kid protest that he’s only a kid when adults call him on his statements.

  2. When adults argue with children in response to the above, insist that arguing with a child is bullying, but if they pre-emptively block that child, call them on it because  “he has a right to be heard.”

  3. Be sure to file a copyright claim against any company or individual selling (Charles) Darwin merchandise!

  4. Do claim that IKEA is at fault for calling Toronto Animal Services to collect Darwin from the parking lot, because we know they should have simply just captured him and instructed shoppers to “claim their stylishly dressed primate at customer service.”

  5. Blame IKEA customers themselves, for they should have put their fears about unknown animals aside and just picked Darwin up and then waited around for his owner to return from shopping. It’s not as though they have anything better to do on a Saturday anyway.

  6. Be sure to let everyone know that a Japanese macaque, who lives in cold climates part of the year, is “cold” because he’s growing a coat.

  7. Don’t forget to compare Canada to Nazi Germany.

  8. Vent your frustration all over Facebook if you see a picture of Darwin alone, but make sure to let everyone know that under no circumstances should he be introduced to another monkey.

  9. Remember to toss out the conspiracy theory that plaintiff Nakhuda’s email was hacked by Sherri Delaney and that’s how emails to/from Lisa Whiteaker were “intercepted.”

  10. Tell Story Book supporters that they must prove their point with supporting documentation, and then tell them not to rely on everything they read.  Then lose the documentation they provide and ask for more.

  11. Make sure everyone knows that the monkeys are simultaneously too hot and too cold in their habitats at Story Book.

  12. Take active steps to harass the sanctuary and express incredulity when people ask why it looks like a fortress with security guards at the front gate.

  13. Complain about monkeys in cages but continue to support exotic animal breeders.

  14. Petition to ask the OSPCA to inspect the property – and once it does, make sure everyone knows that that’s just not good enough.

  15. Bitch that there was not enough enrichment at the sanctuary, and then whine that food being hidden and painting for monkeys is cruel and unusual punishment and exploitation.

  16. Phone in a complaint to the local Fire Department, and when they pass the sanctuary, hint that the Fire Department is either incompetent or in cahoots with the sanctuary.

  17. Keep up the pressure on the logical members of the group by continuing to make shrill accusations about Story Book and Darwin’s “B” status.  Ignore the fact that a high percentage of monkeys are Herp B positive and blissfully disregard Story Book’s own statement that Darwin was tested (by them) and found to be negative.

  18. When it is pointed out that a monkey has been stewing in its own shitty diaper, be sure to make comments about someone’s hair in retaliation.

  19. Lambast Story Book for fundraising whilst simultaneously complaining that they operate on a shoe-string budget.

  20. Harass Story Book’s fundraising partners and sponsors.

  21. Give everyone the false impression that Story Book is illegal/unlicensed while not batting an eye at the prospect of unlicensed, illegal pets.

  22. Criticize Story Book’s founder for not being stylish enough in court, but suggest that she’s spending the charity’s money in high end Toronto department stores.

  23. Set up a poorly thought-out Facebook page to gather recruits to “Free all 24 primates at Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary,” and when confronted about its mission,  hurriedly take it down.

  24. Be sure to toss in a few claims that someone threatened to rape and murder you for good measure.

  25. Use children to tell Story Book supporters that they are being “investigated.”

tinfoil hatThe Verdict

Justice Brown ultimately rendered his opinion that Darwin should remain at Story Book, in the absence of convincing evidence to the contrary.  The judge heard no evidence of wrongdoing or neglect from the plaintiffs counsel Charney against Story Book, and was not convinced by “expert” testimony that Darwin’s relationship with his owner would be irretrievably damaged.  Nakhuda and her son refused to stand when the judge left the courtroom. There were a few statements made either in closing arguments or interviews after-the-fact that should be filed under the category “too good not to report.”

  1. She doesn’t go around smacking the monkey.”  Statement by plaintiff counsel Ted Charney.  What an unfortunate choice of words.  Truly.
  2. Darwin is not a wild animal, he is a domesticated animal; he was wearing a coat and a diaper.”  Plaintiff’s counsel  Ted Charney.  It’s not appropriate to keep the most stylishly-attired animal in the house if he is biting a twelve-year old.
  3. I speak macaque.”  The defendant’s lawyer,  Kevin Toyne scoffed at the “expert” characterization, deriding as ridiculous Ms. Peggy Rice’s claim that she could “speak macaque.”

Unfortunately it seems as though the media circus is far from over.  A quick Google seach shows that “IKEA monkey” often outranks legitimate IKEA social media comments and websites.  Monkey ownersdrunk_as_monkey from across the US and Canada,  who see this as a “right to own” issue and who have no familiarity with by-laws in Toronto or the Kawarthas, are still harassing this sanctuary.  Sanctuaries are run by hard working people, who hold down jobs outside of the sanctuary, and much of their operating funds come from donations.

The idea that any rescue is looking for additional animals to feed just to spitefully keep animals away from “responsible owners” deserves ridicule.  Story Book played no role in Darwin’s arrival at the sanctuary and without them there would be fewer options for monkeys who retire from research,  or are surrendered by roadside zoos or private owners.

chimp-painterAfter witnessing the dirty tricks campaign against Story Book, I can perhaps co-sign a Stanford geneticist’s study that suggests that human cognition is in decline.  Despite evidence of some humans acting like neanderthals,  we still live in a civilized society.  Every civilized society must strive to insure that the innocent aren’t punished along with the “guilty.” Protecting the innocent from unjust harm as a result of wrongful accusations is a hallmark of a civilized society.  Much of what I’ve seen posted on Facebook pages and handed out to journalists is quite actionable in the tort system, should any of the maligned animal activists choose to make a case for defamation.  And however strongly we feel the instinct to mother wild animals, it is rarely the right response.  To that end,  laws around the world are slowly beginning to reflect the fact that monkeys don’t make good pets.

Please support Story Book Farm on Facebook.

“Rosencrantz: I don’t believe in it anyway.
Guildenstern: What?
Rosencrantz: England.
Guildenstern: Just a conspiracy of cartographers, then? ”

monkey mom love

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