The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Humane Society's Letter To The Governor of Mo-Breeding Chimpanzees, Connie Casey Braun

March 2, 2009
The Honorable Jeremiah W. Nixon
Governor of Missouri
P.O. Box 720
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Dear Governor Nixon:
On behalf of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and our 11 million members and
supporters, 190,000 of whom are Missouri residents, I urge you to take action to halt the private
ownership of dangerous exotic animals in the state. The latest serious incident, in which a
chimpanzee named Travis mauled a Connecticut woman beyond recognition, and then was shot
and killed by police, is yet another reminder of the hazards of keeping wild animals as pets.
Travis was born in Festus, Mo. at The Missouri Primate Foundation, otherwise known as
Chimparty. This facility, owned by Connie Braun‐Casey, breeds infant chimpanzees, removes
them from their mothers and sells them to individuals willing to pay the right price, or uses
them in entertainment.
Keeping chimpanzees and other primates as pets is detrimental to them and also dangerous for
people. Along with the risk of injury, primates can transmit deadly diseases. Macaque monkeys,
for example, typically carry Herpes B virus, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
research concludes the disease risk makes macaques unsuitable as pets. Professionals at zoos
and research facilities minimize contact with these animals, particularly following the 1997
death of a researcher after biologic matter from a macaque splashed into her eye. Yet pet
owners take them to the park. In 2007, a woman brought a pet macaque monkey to a
Columbia, Mo. park, and the monkey bit two children.
The public health and safety risks were recognized by the Missouri Department of Health and
Senior Services in its October 6, 2006, Health Advisory, “Dangers Associated with Keeping
Primates as Pets.” (‐6‐06.pdf)
Missouri is a major source of exotic animals, significantly contributing to the national problem.
We have been told that Chimparty may have sold as many as 50 infant chimpanzees to people
across the country. The state also is home to some of the largest exotic animal auctions. This
week the New York Times published an article about people with primates as pets, highlighting
some of the dangers and difficulties. One example was a man who keeps a baboon as a pet; the
animal came from a Missouri dealer. (
March 2, 2009
Page 2
As you may know, Travis’ mother, Suzy, was shot and killed when she escaped from Chimparty
in 2001. It has been reported that two other chimpanzees they sold as pets to a woman in
Montana were on the loose and attacked a neighbor a few months ago. One of Chimparty’s
recent infant sales was to Monkeys and More in Illinois, which takes the animals to schools and
other venues for children.
Once chimpanzees reach sexual maturity, they have the strength of several adult humans, and
must be kept in sturdy, escape‐proof confinement – an infrastructure investment many private
pet owners cannot make. Pet owners also cannot meet the complex physical and social needs of
these animals. In November 2008, an emaciated chimpanzee was reportedly removed from a
Texas home suffering from a deformed spine from lack of proper nutrition and sunshine. He was
found alone in a cage littered with cigarette butts and trash.
At least 20 states prohibit keeping primates as pets, and The Humane Society of the United
States is supporting federal legislation, the Captive Primate Safety Act (S. 462/H.R. 80), to
prohibit interstate commerce in primates for private ownership as pets. The bill passed the U.S.
House of Representatives by an overwhelming 323 to 95 majority, and now moves to the Senate
for consideration.
We hope that, as Governor of a state from which many infant chimpanzees and exotic animals
are sold, you will take action to prohibit future acquisitions of primates and other dangerous
wild animals as pets in the state.
We would be glad to work with you in developing and drafting such rules.
Sincerely yours,
Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO


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