Letter to the Editor

Your View: two from 6/23

Monday, June 23, 2003

Dear Mayor Marshall and members of the Sikeston City Council:

This letter is regard to the news article, "Council studies monkey business' a copy of which is appended further below. Especially in light of the recent outbreak of Monkey pox in the United States and, in general, for serving the best interest of the public and animal welfare, I hope you will not make Sikeston's animal ordinance more "lenient" regarding ownership of monkeys and apes.

The individuals petitioning the Council for more lax laws regarding keeping monkeys and apes (a breeder who profits from selling baby monkeys who are stolen from their mothers and a "pet" monkey owner) are doing so for selfish and self-serving reasons. These individuals seemingly are not concerned about the welfare of the animals, nor the safety of the community.

Of serious concern are the safety risks posed to the community. Nonhuman primates pose safety and health risks to their possessors and any person coming into contact with them. Nonhuman primates are notorious for harboring deadly and contagious illnesses such as tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, and Simian Herpes B.

Bites from Nonhuman primates can cause severe lacerations. Wounds may become infected, with the potential to reach the bone and cause permanent deformity. Many reported monkey bites have resulted in serious injury to the individual who possessed the animal, to a neighbor, or to a stranger on the street. Children are especially vulnerable to being attacked since monkeys and apes are naturally inclined to establish dominance hierarchies.

Also, the life for so-called "pet" monkeys and apes is far removed from what they would experience in their natural habitat. Unfortunately, monkeys and apes have become popular in the pet trade and they are easily obtainable. A quick search on the internet alone reveals 48 websites that specialize in selling baby monkeys and apes.

Though infant monkeys and apes (like all mammalian species) are completely dependent on their caretakers, Nonhuman primates are not domesticated, and their instincts remain very much intact in captivity. Adult monkeys and apes exhibit aggression and instinctively bite and scratch. Individuals possessing primate species often attempt to change the nature of the monkey/ape rather than the nature of the care provided. Such tactics include confinement in small barren enclosures, chaining, shocking, beating "into submission," or even painful mutilations, such as tooth and nail removal.

Nonhuman primates do not make good pets. They require special care, housing, diet and maintenance that the average person cannot provide. When in the hands of private individuals, monkeys and apes typically suffer due to poor care. A life in a backyard, basement or garage cage cannot even begin to meet these primates' instinctual needs and desires, such as seeking a mate, raising young, foraging, basking in the sun, and establishing territories.


Linda J. Howard

Editor's note: The following letter was addressed to U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson from W.T. Woods.

Referring to your column in the May 21 Standard Democrat, "Serving seniors who served us," a touching-sounding title and well written, but phony and deceiving, and little more than a pacifier for us to suck on like babies and get nothing out of it.

Let me tell you what President Bush and his supporters like you are really doing to us senior citizens. Most of us are living on Social Security and interest on our life savings. This President has cut interest rates an unprecedented 12 or more times, each time saying it would stimulate his failing economy, and each time it failed. But that didn't keep him from repeating this over and over, until he has destroyed us financially.

My wife and I were drawing 6 percent interest on our CDs before this President, and now we're lucky to get 2 percent, cutting our overall income by one-third. This is devastating to millions of us senior citizens and, at times when insurance rates are soaring on health and everything else we own. Many of us are World War II veterans and are victims of the Social Security notch theft which steals from our Social Security check every month. You and your late husband have talked about correcting this for more than 20 years, but talk was all you ever did. But soon that program will go away because the rest of us notch victims will die. It's unbelievable in a democracy that all Americans are not treated alike.

For a group of people born on certain years, who were the right age to fight the big war, preserving freedom, liberty and justice for all, and be denied the very justice that we made safe for all, except us.

We receive about 80 percent of Social Security while the others receive 100 percent. What's left of us will die and we will die knowing we served our country in war and in peace and our country did not treat us fairly in our final years. But I am led to believe that nobody cares except us.

Jo Ann Emerson, we earned the right to be equal to all others. And we get the double-whammy because this President is using our money almost free to fuel his sputtering economy. We senior citizens deserve better.

This will be submitted to local newspapers and I request a reply from you.

Still serving you,

W.T. Woods