From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2011:
Unsaid by Neil Abramson, Center Street
(Hachette Book Group, 3 Center Plaza, Boston, MA 02108), 2011.
368 pages, hardcover. $23.99.
Neil Abramson, publicity materials for Unsaid inform us,
“is a partner in a Manhattan law firm, and his wife is a
veterinarian. Abramson is also a past board member of the Animal
Legal Defense Fund, an award recipient from the ASPCA for his legal
work on behalf of animals, and a founding member of the New York
City Bar Association Committee on Legal Issues Relating to Animals.”
Unsaid, Abramson’s first book, is told through the
protagonist’s late wife, a veterinarian married to an attorney, who
died of breast cancer. Her husband learns posthumously of her
involvement in testing chimpanzee intelligence, after a lab
technician becomes convinced that a chimp named Cindy possesses
advanced human-like intelligence. With the future of the lab at risk,
and Cindy at risk of being used in invasive research or being sold to
another facility, the lab tech tries to steal her. Caught, the
tech needs a lawyer.
Amid a variety of subplots involving other characters and a
couple of dogs, Unsaid describes a case with echoes of Ohio State
University researcher Sally Boysen’s 2006 effort to block the
retirement of her nine-chimp research colony to Primarily Primates.
Allied with PETA, Boysen pursued a case which was touted by
some observers as an attempt to establish legal personhood for
chimps–but Friends of Animals legal director Lee Hall, who had
published a model case for the legal personhood of nonhuman primates
in the Seton Hall Constitutional Law Journal, was on the opposite
side. –Debra J. White