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Yerkes fined for negligence in chimpanzee’s death

November 4, 2005 • Posted in Related News

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) fined Emory University and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center (Yerkes) $1,375 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) due to the 2004 death of a chimpanzee named Dover.

According to a USDA inspection report dated October 18, 2004, Dover died after Yerkes transported him in a cage that failed to meet AWA regulations. Despite high temperatures, Yerkes moved Dover in a “stainless steel box with solid flooring, roof, rear and sides.” Not only was the temperature inside the enclosure too high under the AWA, but only the front of the enclosure had any ventilation openings.

Specifically, the USDA inspection report stated:

Ventilation openings are present only on the front of the enclosure. Upon review of circumstances surrounding death of chimpanzee “Dover”, it was noted that the ambient temperature of the transport vehicle with air conditioning functioning was 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Ambient temperatures for non-human primates in transit must remain below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. While the temperature on the inside of the primary enclosure at the time of transport is unknown, poor ventilation contributes to increasing temperatures within primary enclosures. Ventilator openings present on one aspect of the enclosure do not meet minimum requirements for non-permanently affixed transport enclosures as described in (c ) (1) of this section.

More about the circumstances surrounding Dover’s death is unknown because Yerkes is affiliated with Emory University, and therefore it is considered to be a private institution that is not required to release animal records and documentation under the Freedom of Information Act.

According to Project R&R sources, Dover was 10 years old. Male chimpanzees in captivity can live some 50 years.


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