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NhRP Week of Action FAQ

By Courtney Fern

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the Week of Action for the NhRP’s clients. Together, you sent tens of thousands of messages to those who have power to help ensure Hercules, Leo, Happy, Tommy, Kiko, and Minnie can live freely and with peace and dignity, as all great apes and elephants should.

As always, we greatly appreciate our supporters’ compassion for our clients and the time you took to participate. We wanted to quickly address three important questions we received:

Can’t the NhRP just buy Kiko, Minnie, and Happy?

Our ultimate goal for our clients is to secure their immediate release to sanctuaries where they can regain their autonomy, even if this means the legal fight for nonhuman rights must wait another day. For this reason, we always offer to end our litigation and campaigns if those who are imprisoning our clients choose to release them (without having to pay anything for the costs of their transport and lifelong care).

However, if the NhRP were to attempt to buy our clients we’d be supporting a market for buying and selling elephants and chimpanzees and possibly directly funding the suffering of other nonhuman animals. We’d also be perpetuating the idea that nonhuman animals are mere “things” to be bought and sold, which is contrary to our mission.

We will not interfere with any third party efforts to try to buy our clients but we don’t believe that our clients’ captors, especially well-established and well-funded entities like the Bronx Zoo, would be open to selling them. Most likely, refusals to release our clients run deeper than questions of money, though money certainly plays a role.

Why is the USDA the target of Minnie’s action alert if it hasn’t done anything to help her so far? Isn’t there something more that can be done?

We asked our supporters to contact US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack because he is newly appointed and we are hopeful that this administration will be more proactive in investigating the well-documented concerns we have about Minnie’s welfare. Additionally, if the Commerford Zoo can’t afford to meet Minnie’s basic needs, the only way for Minnie to be removed from the zoo on this basis is for an agency with oversight authority to investigate and order her removal. Last year we sent letters to the USDA, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Torrington Police Department’s Animal Control Division because they have this authority. Alternatively, the Commerford Zoo can choose to send her to a sanctuary, which we hope they will do, and we stand ready to assist them.

You can read this this blog post for all we have done so far to free Minnie and find additional actions you can take to help her.

What else can I do to help?

Please keep sharing what’s going on! The more people raising the alarm about clients’ plights, the better. Rest assured, we’ll continue to fight for as long as it takes for Hercules and Leo to have true freedom and for Tommy, Kiko, Happy, and Minnie to be released to sanctuaries where their right to liberty will be respected.

Thank you once again!

If you missed a day or would like to share the blog posts from our Week of Action, please click the links below: 

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