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Many animals are in various states of health. This is because Primarily Primates houses animals who have been abused, abandoned, unwanted, used in horrific research experiments or testing, or spoiled by humans who kept them as "pets" and provided them with nutritionally deficient diets. The tamarin facility at Primarily Primates, for example, originally housed 130 cotton top tamarins who were purpose bred and inbred to get colon cancer. The caregiver in charge of this area is probably one of the most stressed individuals at Primarily Primates because he / she is dealing with a population purposely bred to die of cancer. By the time you get to know an individual tamarin who weighs no more than a pound, he / she is dead from cancer related causes. If Primarily Primates was a research facility studying colon cancer, this would be great. We could have all the samples we want. But we are not. Here our tamarins lived for many years free from continued research, with free access to the outdoors, a heated indoor bedroom, nutritious diet, and the companionship of other tamarins. Most have now passed on, many having lived a natural life span, despite their compromised health.

Regarding the few dogs we have, they are all exercised every day by the staff and are up to date on their shots. Only 2 weeks ago, on St Francis day, I began a new employee benefit, employee pet day, and the all the dogs and cats of our employees and those of Primarily Primates were vaccinated against rabies and other diseases, given a heartworm test, feline leukemia test, and other tests as needed, at no cost. The rottweilers living at Primarily Primates were going to be placed in private homes through a web site adoption program, Rotts Across Texas, as soon as we could arrange for spay surgeries, planned for the following week. The attorney general / PETA takeover stopped that. Another small dog living in our sanctuary, who was abandoned a couple years ago in a backyard full of monkeys, is our sanctuary mascot, loved by all the staff, and we would never part with her.

The water at Primarily Primates is not contaminated. This is typical PETA ignorance. As an employer, Primarily Primates must provide the employees a water drinking system similar to one found in most offices. Basically a 5-gallon tub on a fountain stand. Employees must have this option available to them, or we can buy bottled water for the staff. The way the law goes is like this.... If I live at Primarily Primates in a home on our property, we can drink the well water. As long as you live over the aquifer and have well water as your main source of drinking water, you can drink the water. However, for staff not living on the property, the employer must provide an alternative drinking source. The water, if contaminated and dangerous, would not only have made the animals sick, it would have also sickened many of our neighbors who also drink well water from the same aquifer. But the animals are healthy, and our neighbors are not sick and dying either. I have been drinking well water here for 21 years, and so has Wallace Swett.

Primarily Primates has never purchased, sold, intentionally bred animals, used animal body parts for sale, or traded animals. Not ever. All animals who arrive at Primarily Primates are donated either by private individuals, zoos, research facilities, other sanctuaries, and numerous other sources. We have received a chimpanzee purchased by an individual for the exclusive purpose of retirement. We have accepted a black leopard purchased by another individual whose purpose was the same. Mr. Swett used his own personal funds to rescue a baby chimpanzee from a chimpanzee dealer who intended to sell the animal to an animal trainer. His personal sacrifice saved a desperate young chimp named Emma who now has a chance to live a natural life with others of her own kind. Mr. Swett has also personally saved other animals, including two ibis. The Ibis live in one of the largest natural enclosures at Primarily Primates. It stands 20 feet tall, 40 feet wide, and 60 feet long. It is one of the most beautiful and inspiring natural enclosures at Primarily Primates. This enclosure was built specifically for the purpose of introducing "caged" birds back into a more natural environment, like the ibis who are actually hybrid birds bred accidentally. As hybrids, these birds were unwanted by zoos and dealers. It is much like pure bred dogs... people want pure breeds and only those special people who can look beyond breeding are the ones who can appreciate mutts. This is much like Wally,... he knows that the ibis in his care were destined to be killed. Wally saved these birds from death. They now reside in an amazing new home and can fly about the enclosure. They are beautiful birds who are co-existing with many other needy caged birds, for example a blue crowned pigeon, emerald green pigeons, cockatiels, quail, and a large variety of little birds who if not for construction of this huge enclosure, would likely be living in small canary cages.

The story of Betty is one of the most awful situations in Primarily Primates' history. I am always deeply hurt by this story because I know that Betty deserved better. During the final days of Betty's life at Primarily Primates Terry Minchew and Michael Dreadt, partners living together in a home on our property, were together responsible for all of the daily animal care. Minchew was the enrichment coordinator (a job she did poorly) and Dreadt was the animal carestaff supervisor (a title he never deserved). When Betty was found dying she was morose and in her final moments of life. Swett called all of our veterinarians, but it was Sunday afternoon and he was unable to find anyone who was available. In our 28 year history this is the first time we were unable to obtain a veterinarian on an emergency basis. As the time progressed, Minchew continued to harass Swett asking for permission to shoot Betty. But Swett refused until all other options failed. It's ironic that the individual who shot Betty, Minchew, is the same person who complained in her sworn statement about Betty's death. How convenient that she "forgot" to say she was the one who killed Betty. What offends me the most about this situation is that there was a more ethical alternative. In 2005, around July, I was temporarily working at Primarily Primates on special assignment. A few of my first tasks included organizing the Primarily Primates office, animal inventory records, and veterinary supplies. Primarily Primates receives numerous donations of in kind gifts... disposable gloves, out dated medications, dart equipment and many other medical supplies. One of the first things I did was to put together all of our dart equipment. Primarily Primates had dart equipment on site -- and I mean a lot of it. We had tranquilizer guns, rifles, darts, a "dart stick," and other darting equipment. In addition, Primarily Primates also had a bottle of Phenobarbital, a drug used to humanely euthanize animals. All this equipment and the drug necessary to humanely euthanize Betty was at Primarily Primates and available for use. As a supervisor, Dreadt, and his partner Minchew, should had made sure that all medical supplies were categorized and placed for easy access. Instead, Michael Dreadt did nothing of the sort and allowed Primarily rimates supplies of medical equipment and medications to go unchecked and unused. It was Mike's failure to properly perform his duties that led to this horrible incident. Dreadt and Minchew were ill-prepared to handle the job of caring for the animals at Primarily Primates and are now looking to blame Wally for Betty's death, and to alleviate their own guilt they now want to place all the blame on Wallace Swett.

In the days ahead we will be revealing more of the truth about Primarily Primates and the individuals behind this attack.

Stephen Tello

Interim Executive Director

Primarily Primates
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