After Cruel Exhibitor’s Arrest, PETA Calls for Seized Chimpanzees’ Retirement

Legal Troubles Continue to Plague Nevada Exhibitor Mike Casey

For Immediate Release:
August 23, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Pahrump, Nev. — Records just obtained by PETA through a public-records request reveal that notorious Nevada-based chimpanzee exhibitor James “Mike” Casey—whom Nye County authorities recently denied a permit to keep four chimpanzees in Pahrump—was arrested last month by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at a roadside zoo, where he intended to sell three chimpanzees unlawfully. In response, PETA has sent a letter thanking the FWC for taking action and asking the agency to ensure that the three animals—whom the FWC seized and who are currently being held at a different roadside zoo in Florida—are sent to a North American Primate Alliance–accredited sanctuary.

“These chimpanzees have suffered at Casey’s hands for years, and they must not end up at a roadside zoo, denied everything that’s natural and important to them,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “An accredited sanctuary is ready to receive them and give them the care and rehabilitation that they sorely need.”

The chimpanzees are being temporarily held at the so-called “Suncoast Primate Sanctuary,” a facility that confines chimpanzees to cramped cages. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Suncoast on numerous occasions for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), and in 2010, a chimpanzee at Suncoast escaped and seriously injured a handler.

Casey is awaiting trial on his charges, which include possessing chimpanzees without the requisite state permit and state-required insurance, but as PETA points out in its letter to the FWC, his lengthy record of chimpanzee abuse and neglect and his disregard for public safety—including housing animals in insecure and decrepit enclosures from which they could escape—demonstrate that Casey cannot qualify for an FWC permit to possess wild animals in Florida. Casey’s reported physical abuse of chimpanzees includes kicking and punching them, striking them with wooden rods, and dousing them with hot water.

PETA is also calling on the USDA to investigate Casey’s attempt to sell chimpanzees in Florida without the requisite AWA license.

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