Wonton (1978-1997) was a wonderful father and group leader and was one of the most magnificent rhesus macaques anyone could know. During many of the years of his life, he lived with three other females in a small enclosure. As a resident at a breeding facility, his ‘job’ was to father as many children as possible. All of his children, as is status quo, were taken away and sent to research.
Wonton was known for lunging at and trying to grab the various technicians as they walked by. There were likely various reasons for this – those were the people who took his children away and taunted him because they thought it was a game. However, those who treated him with kindness and respect were treated the same in return.
Wonton was another who fell through the cracks when he did not receive appropriate veterinary care one weekend. We held a funeral and buried him – it was the least we could do for him. We were told that burying him was against the rules; he was a ‘biohazard.’ Each one of the nonhuman primates who are forced to live in research and breeding institutions aren’t biohazards; they are mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and friends who will be missed very much. Wonton is no exception.