Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bizarre fanatic runs off at the mouth

I came across a truly unbelievable blog post where a holier-than-thou raw vegan fanatic has had the balls to slam the Fauna Foundation – of all things, criticizing the way they feed the chimpanzees who are living out their retirement at the sanctuary.

As a loyal supporter and regular volunteer at Fauna I am floored that this woman has done such a thing, and on such a public forum as the internet. If she really had any of the positive intentions that she feigns to have, and if she had a brain in her head, she would have addressed her concerns privately to the owners of the sanctuary.

She starts her post whining about how “conflicted” she was about writing it in the first place, then she rattles off a few misinformed details about how horrible the lives of laboratory chimpanzees are. But the line that started the war for me is where she says – and I quote “At Fauna Foundation, the chimps are spared such torture, but they are not spared from human ignorance.” Excuse me? Is this woman mistaking herself to be an all knowledgeable resource on the proper care and nutrition of chimpanzees?

Let’s step back for a minute and try to figure out exactly what it was that she was trying to get out of her visit to Fauna. Many of her blog posts boast about her strange obsession with eating the same regime as a bonobo. So it stands to reason that what she hoped to get from her visit to Fauna was a plethora of new bonobo-appropriate raw vegan recipes. And now, in retaliation for coming away with an empty recipe box she’s attacking Fauna.

OK - so this woman wants to eat like a bonobo – good for her. She has obviously chosen not to really eat like a bonobo or her diet would include worms, insects and the occasional raw fish. This shows that she makes choices – she keeps what she wants and ignores the rest. Her argument against Fauna is caused by her retaining what she has conceived, by her own lunatic standards, as being wrong and conveniently ignoring everything else.

Her wild assumptions that the Fauna chimps eat eggs (which they never do) and that their diets are high in fat, cocoa and salt (which they most definitely aren’t) are ludicrous. Her entire argument about us forcing protein on the chimps is outrageous – the chimp’s diets consist of about 2% protein which is perfectly normal for a chimpanzee. Her accusations that the chimps are deprived of generous quantities of fruits and vegetables are insane – she obviously visited at a time when the trolleys had been out all day and hadn’t yet been replenished. Full trolleys are a thing of beauty. They overflow with a huge, colourful variety of fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables in abundant quantities. What she doesn’t know is that at the end of the day there are always a few fruits and vegetables left on the trolleys…for the simple reason that the chimps have had their fill.

I can make wild assumptions too. Maybe Via811 yearns so much to be like a bonobo that she spends all of her free time screwing like a bonobo too. Maybe what really frustrated her when she visited Fauna was that she wanted to witness some good hard core chimp sex and was disappointed that she wasn’t able to glean any new kinky ideas.

She accuses us of killing the Fauna chimps, like Tommy, with kindness – “loving them to death” as she puts it. She even exaggerates by saying that 9 chimps have died over the years at Fauna. Um, I don’t know where she gets her numbers from because the rest of us only know 6 chimps who have gone over the rainbow bridge – and it certainly had nothing to do with their diet. She seems oh, so concerned that we should make changes so that we can love Tommy for many more years, but implies that we are forsaking that because of our human arrogance and ignorance.

I’ll tell you what’s arrogant and ignorant. Statements such as the following from her blog: “BTW, there's plenty of protein in fruit”. In what universe? Oh yeah, I forgot. This woman actually entertains the possibility of eating 30 bananas a day. 30 bananas a day! So, yeah, I suppose if you eat copious quantities of fruit that you might get a small enough amount of protein to register on the idiot scale. I don’t know where she gets her information from, but it’s definitely not the same place as the rest of us.

It’s really hard to believe that someone who is a raw vegan can be so full of krap. Maybe it’s the accumulation of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in her blood stream that are making her think she is better than everybody else. Or maybe it’s the lack of protein that is making her hostile. Who knows, maybe she’s just naturally arrogant, obnoxious and full of herself. I don’t know, and frankly I don’t really care.

But I will say one thing. If she ever decides to invest all of her life savings and to dedicate every waking moment of her life to creating and running a chimpanzee sanctuary of her own like Gloria has done, then I will let her throw stones. Until then, every time she throws a stone I will throw it back, and with a vengeance.

Probably deep down inside she isn’t really a bad person. If she was having “conflicts” it’s because she knew that she was doing a horrible injustice to the founders of The Fauna Foundation and everyone who puts their hearts and souls into the work they do there.

The next time this woman is feeling “conflicted” my suggestion would be that she stick to writing about the stuff that nobody cares about – like her usual lunatic ranting about the unhealthy fanatic diet she is on.

OK, so you’re probably aching to see what it is exactly that has got me so riled up.

Here is the link to Via811’s putrid post – please feel free to leave her a nasty comment

I have let her know (via a comment on her blog that I’m sure she will not publish) that when she removes her blasphemous post about the Fauna Foundation, that I will do likewise and remove this one.

Let the games begin!


Via811 said...

Dear Nature Nut,

I can understand you and Gloria being upset about my post, but I will not remove it. I was perhaps clumsy in expressing some of my sentiments, by using words like "ignorant", but the truth remains that the chimps are sick and dying prematurely. I do feel that a public discussion is better than a private one. There is no need to hide anything.

With deforestation and bush-meat hunting putting such enormous strains on the wild populations of the world. It is even more vitally important that captive animals be well fed and that their health and genetic heritage not be compromised.

You might wish to comfort yourselves in the knowledge that you're giving a better life to the chimps than they received in the past or that their past injuries are incurable, but why not explore the possibility that the diet you are feeding the chimps is not optimal?

Aside from a bruised ego, what have you got to lose? Yet, the chimps have everything to gain

Via811 said...

Dear Nature Nut,

Please do your math before you make statements about protein amounts. Even at only 2% protein per calorie in bananas at an average 110 calories per banana, if you eat 2500 calories of just bananas you get as much protein as both the USDA and WHO RDA's (Recommended Daily Amounts) recommend.

Jane Goodall provisioned and fed 600 bananas per day (roughly 20/30 bananas per chimp), everyday for many years to the chimps at Gombe. It was called the "Banana Bonanza" by the scientific community. This practice was criticized in a very misogynist way against Jane, mostly because it created human dependence on the chimps so she eventually stopped-but never was the nutritional practice of it questioned.

You never saw a Gombe chimp die of an "unforeseeable" heart attack at 36 years old from eating 30 bananas a day.

Alicia Istanbul said...

Well, I admittedly don't know a lot on the topic of raw foods or chimps, but I feel like I learned something new after reading your post on the subject.
I hope the conflict gets resolved :)

Allison's Photography said...

Here is the comment I left on her blog - we'll see if it gets posted.

Although I can see that you have good intentions, I really feel like you are misinformed about some of the things mentioned in your post. You say Jane Goodall noted that chimps have been seen to eat meat. On her website it says, "Chimpanzees eat fruits, leaves, blossoms, seeds, pith, bark and stems. They also eat a variety of insects and hunt and kill smaller mammals for meat. Their most common prey is the red colobus monkey." , a website that's part of the Jane Goodall foundation, specifies "Fruit and vegetable species make up the bulk of the chimpanzee diet while insects, bird eggs and meat from small and medium sized mammals provide additional sources of food."You go on to say, "Does this mean they need to eat meat?" Just because they eat bananas in the wild, does this mean they need to eat bananas?? it just makes no sense. Do you want them to eat what they would in the wild? because then they would eat meat. Or do you want them to eat what YOU eat? Remember, this is not about you. It's about providing a safe haven for chimps that were brutally mistreated.

Jane Goodall's website also says, "Chimpanzees in the wild seldom live longer than 50 years." Wikipedia says, "Chimpanzees rarely live past the age of 40 in the wild, but have been known to reach the age of more than 60 in captivity". Another website says, "The age of 33 was estimated as the beginning of old age for chimpanzees living in the wild." Annie died at 42 years old, Billy Jo was 37 years old, Donna Rae died at 39, Jean died at 32, Sophie passed at 32 years old, and Pablo died at 31 (but read what was done to him! would you live to 31 after being "darted 220 times and having over 30 punch liver, bone marrow and lymph node biopsies"?? let's not forget, "he was only in his new sanctuary life for a short time"). Their average age at death was 35.5 years, not 34.5 as stated in your post. Yes, this is a small discrepancy, but proves that the information in your post is not correct. Only six chimps passed on at the sanctuary, not the nine quoted in your post.

Allison's Photography said...


Let's discuss what was done to these chimps, which you hardly address. Bone marrow biopsies are one of the most painful things you can have done. Billy Jo had three. Today, he has anxiety attacks that leave him "choking, gagging and convulsing". How about Jean? "Following a study in 1995, Jean had a nervous breakdown. For the next 2 years Jean was heavily medicated but the medication still did not prevent her from having aggressive seizures during which she screamed continually, ripping her fingernails off and thrashing out at anyone who came near her. To this day she suffers from the so called “floating hand and foot” where she will begin to attack her own hand or foot as if it were not her own." "Pablo used to scream when the doors to his unit were opened, terrified of what could happen to him or to one of his unit mates." Donna Rae: "Following one intervention, the pain was so intense that it put her into a state of shock. During her years as a research chimp she would endure many days filled with pain from lymph node and bone marrow biopsies, sex skin wounds inflicted during knock-downs, or the constant irritation that must have followed the perpetual vaginal washes. Continually mutilating herself, Donna always looked as though she had given up all hope."

Are you reading this?! THIS is mistreating chimps. THIS is the stuff nightmares are made of. I agree, IF fauna was not feeding the chimps properly, it would be horrible. But they ARE. The chimps are loved, fed, cared for, given toys, a place to sleep, blankets, a big open space to play in (no cages!) what if they eat a bit of sugar every once in a while? I even found this quoted from a research website on sugar - "In the 1990s, William McGrew, now at Cambridge University, reported that chimpanzees used sticks to dip into beehives and extract honey. Researchers have also discovered that honey dipping is a multi-cultural chimpanzee behavior; at different sites across Africa, chimps use different sort of tools to pull out the sweet stuff." Nowhere did I find that sugar was bad for chimps in any way. And it's not like they're eating it everyday. The oatmeal Tommy ate has less than 150 calories.

So just to clarify - have you studied chimps? Have you volunteered with them? Have you studied the biology of chimps? Have you ever even touched one? I invite you to look over the list of the members of the Fauna team - their qualifications far exceed anything that you or I could learn on the internet anyway - . They know what they are doing and have a wayyyyyyyyyy better understanding of chimps than you or I ever will. If you know for a FACT that there is something fauna can do to make the chimps' lives better, you know they will do anything possible to make it happen. Unfortunately your post is filled with speculation and assumptions from someone who is way over her head in something she does not understand.

The Nature Nut said...

Here is my response to Via811’s accusation about me not doing my math:

It’s not my math that’s the problem; you and I just see things from a different perspective. What we are discussing here is the original statement “BTW there’s plenty of protein in fruit”.

I challenged that statement because I don’t consider the majority of fruits to contain plenty of protein; I generally consider fruit to contain a small amount of (incomplete) protein.

Now if we do the math your way, yes, I agree - if you eat 2500 calories worth of bananas (approximately 22 bananas) you will be consuming almost 24 grams of (incomplete) protein. But the USDA recommendation for vegans is .45 grams of complete protein per pound that we weigh. A woman weighing 125 pounds should try to get about 56 grams of (complete) protein each day. So 22 bananas per day is NOT enough to meet the recommendation – you would need to more than double your banana intake as a woman and more than triple it if you were a man. So before accusing me of not doing my math, you should check your own.

There is no point debating this and doing comparisons based on Recommended Daily Allowance tables as their legitimacy is debatable, and besides, these tables are intended for human beings, not for chimpanzees. So all of this is irrelevant when it comes to deciding how many bananas a chimpanzee should consume per day.

You may have decided that your body doesn’t need protein, and that’s fine – you are free to do what you want with your body. But rest assured, you are far from an expert when it comes to chimpanzees and you are not doing the Fauna chimps any favours by trying to push your lifestyle on them.

One interesting thing that I found when researching the 811rv diet is that it is just about as easy to gain weight on the raw food diet as it is to lose weight. Hmmmm.

Your statement that no Gombe chimps ever died of an “unforeseeable” heart attack at 36 years old is very interesting. Tell me something: exactly how many Gombe chimp autopsies did you participate in?