National watchdog files 2nd federal complaint against Chimp Haven

Chimp Haven has a second federal complaint filed against them.
Chimp Haven has a second federal complaint filed against them.(Chimp Haven)
Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 6:08 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2022 at 6:11 AM CDT
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KEITHVILLE, La. (KSLA) - Recently, Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) mentions an undisclosed report about a recent escape at the federally-funded Chimp Haven sanctuary, claiming that a federal law was broken.

SAEN, is a non-profit, non-government, Ohio-based watchdog organization that monitors U.S. research facilities and sanctuaries that house former research animals. SAEN recently filed one federal complaint against Chimp Haven in June and now in July, they are filing a second complaint.

“Chimp Haven is failing to keep both the chimps and their staff safe,” said Michael A. Budkie, co-founder of SAEN. “Anytime a chimp escapes everyone is at risk.”

SAEN said that one chimp escaped and it is attributed to staff negligence as the reason they filed the complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, alleging improper animal handling, which potentially endangered both staff and the chimp escapee.

What the March 21, 2022 report said:

“Chimp Haven is writing to report an adverse event - the temporary escape of a 26-year-old female chimpanzee from her primary enclosure.” During cage cleaning chimps were shifted to another area of the sanctuary. Even though staff checked the enclosure, which was to be cleaned, they missed a chimp who was “lying in a hammock unseen, above their heads. With the door open, the chimpanzee was able to exit the bedroom and gain access to the interior hall.”

Chimp Haven's previously unpublished report.

The complaint (in full below) calls for a full investigation and the maximum penalty of $10,000 per infraction/per animal.

SAEN’s previous complaint against the sanctuary in June related to a multi-chimp escape. That event led to the death of two chimps. The complaint said the death of one chimp was due to “exsanguination secondary to traumatic injury.” The second chimp died from “hepatic laceration likely due to blunt force trauma.”

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