A monkey expert who backed Peta’s bid to sue a photographer over the copyright of one his famous pictures has backed out of the case.
Primate specialist Antje Engelhardt, 47, had supported the animal rights group in its bizarre claim that a monkey should own the copyright to its pictures instead of the photographer who took them.
But she performed the shock U-turn after her relationship with Peta went into meltdown.
She claimed the activists do not care about the monkey or animal welfare in general.
Engelhard is an associate professor at the John Moores University in the UK and has been studying monkey behaviour for 20 years.
Her dramatic court-room change of heart and subsequent attack on Peta is hugely damaging to the credibility of the organisation as well as the case.
Wildlife snapper David Slater, 52, who has said his life has been ruined by the bizarre court case in Dan Francisco.
He said: “Antje realised that Peta was not in the case for the benefit of this monkey, she knew that Peta needed publicity and donations. That’s all it cares about.
“Antje is so passionate about the animals, she is a true guardian of them. This time round she felt she was being mentally abused by Peta. “
The photographer spoke out after being left broke and demoralised by the legal battle with Peta.
He took the picture of the six-years-old monkey called Naruto in 2011 in Sulawesi, Indonesia, when he persuaded the crested black macaque to press a camera shutter.
Peta claims the monkey owns the copyright to the “selfie” it took of itself.
After being dragged through courts by Peta and paying a whopping £200,000 in legal Mr Slater is now considering becoming a dog walker because his reputation as a photographer has been ruined by the court case.
He said the dispute had cost him “tens of thousands of pounds” in lost earnings and effectively ended his 17-year-career as a wildlife photographer.
The court is due to issue a ruling at the 8th of September.