What Makes Monkeys Mean? | Letters | Chicago Reader

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What Makes Monkeys Mean?


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To the editors:

This is in response to your cover story in the 5/31/91 issue. I will try my hardest to refrain from using every swear word I could possibly think of in order to make my point. Fuck it, I'll just say exactly what I feel. I do hope that this will be printed in your next issues to come.

On page 14 of the same section there's an article which begins:

"People, as curious primates, dote on concrete objects that can be seen and fondled . . ."

No need to continue as my interest lies in the first sentence.

Well, maybe the article by Steve Bogira entitled "How Monkeys Make Up" should begin, "Primates as curious as humans dote on concrete objects that can be seen and fondled . . ." Let me get to my point.

I am 21 years old. My life's dream was to help animals and the like. I worked with animals in a vet since my early teenage years. Then I got into college and began to work with monkeys in a lab. A research lab. Sure, I never saw the shit they were doing. I moved up quickly, and would still continue except for the fact my morale and ethics took hold first. In a lab. A research lab. I gave it up, pre-vet, physical anthropology in order not to fall into the trap of thinking animal research is all right. Although research is correct, in my opinion to a point, society has gone way beyond that point a billion times over, making it unethical.

What's your story about, Steve. For one, how do you get the nerve to write "monkeys are mean"?? Well, then you must have seen the aggression and hostility developed from these monkeys at the primate center in Madison. Lock them up at an early age like that, no wonder. Never let them touch or feel their mother, no wonder. The monkeys I knew were the most peaceful creatures on earth. Don't be stupid and naive, the aggression begins from the touch of human hands, the pricks of needle and the shock of electrodes. Maybe if these laboratory monkeys never saw the unnatural habitat of bars and concrete but the breezy air and grass, like the species is used to, maybe they wouldn't be so mean.

I hope Frans de Waal knows that. Speaking of him, I hope he becomes a very sad man in his old age. Do a story on that. The follow-up of a cover story which Chicago and the midwest is so proud of? So proud, it makes the cover! I had respect for these articles once, but now, I'll just use it for the nightlife.

As for Steve, I would like to go one-on-one with you. You pissed the shit out of me. I have a few pictures of lab monkeys in my hand now and then. I think they were once timid and peaceful. Then I look at your article, and I want to show you that sometimes when a human kicks the shit out of another human, they don't always turn around, hug, kiss and make up. Maybe I am just mean.



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