Cincinnati Zoo gorilla enclosure 'violated federal regulations' claims animal rights group in official complaint to US government
Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now

ACTION ALERT:

Contact Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
Director, USDA, Eastern Region
(919) 855-7100
Betty.J.Goldentyer@aphis.usda.gov 
aceast@aphis.usda.gov

SAMPLE MESSAGE:

Please LEVY a MAXIMUM FINE against the Cincinnati Zoo for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) when their negligence allowed a child to gain access to a gorilla enclosure, and this led directly to the death of a 17 year old gorilla, Harambe. This behavior must NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished with the maximum penalty allowed under the Animal Welfare Act. 

 

Cincinnati Zoo gorilla enclosure 'violated federal regulations' claims animal rights group in official complaint to US government
By Mirror.co.uk, May 31, 2016

Cincinnati Zoo's gorilla enclosure 'breached federal regulations' - according to an animal rights group in an official complaint to the US government.

The zoo is coming under increased scrutiny following the fatal shooting of Harambe the gorilla after a four-year-old boy fell into his enclosure on Saturday.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now has now filed an official complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It states that for the boy to have entered the enclosure the zoo must have been placing other children visiting at risk.

If found guilty of breaching regulations the zoo could face a $10,000 fine.

Michael Budkie, co-founder of SAEN, said: "It's clear that this enclosure is not capable of keeping a 4-year-old child out and must violate federal regulations.

"This could potentially be the zoo's third citation. This one ended up not only endangering a child but also essentially with the murder of a gorilla by gunshot."

The director of the zoo yesterday defended the decision to shoot dead the 450-pound gorilla, saying staff would make the same decision today.

The death of a 17-year-old Western lowland silverback named Harambe has outraged animal lovers, about 20 of whom staged a vigil outside the zoo in Cincinatti.

Thane Maynard, the zoo's director, stood by the decision to shoot the gorilla after he dragged the boy around by the ankle.

He said the ape was not simply endangering the child but actually hurting him.

"Looking back, we would make the same decision," he said.

"The gorilla was clearly agitated. The gorilla was clearly disoriented," said Maynard, while lamenting the loss of "an incredibly magnificent animal."

He also denied claims the zoo has been negligent.

"The barriers are safe. The barriers exceed any required protocols,"Maynard said at a news conference about the incident on Saturday.

"The trouble with barriers is that whatever the barrier some people can get past it.. No, the zoo is not negligent," he said.

The zoo received thousands of messages of sympathy and support from around the world, he said.

But Ian Redmond, Chairman of The Gorilla Organization, said keepers had other options besides a fatal shot.

He told CNN: “When gorilla or other apes have things they shouldn’t have, keepers will negotiate with them, bring food, their favourite treats, pineapple or some kind of fruit that they don’t know.

“I don’t know if that was tried or people thought there was too much danger but it does seem very unfortunate that a lethal shot was required.”

More than 200,000 people signed online petitions on Change.org to protest the shooting, some demanding "Justice for Harambe" and urging police to hold the child's parents accountable.

Maynard faced a series of questions about how a 4-year-old was able to climb the barrier and through the bushes and reach the 15-foot drop into the water surrounding the enclosure.

The exhibit met standards set by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which conduct regular inspections, Maynard said.

He said zookeepers would review the barrier but he made no promise to redesign it.

The zoo association's 2016 accreditation standards, published on its website, said "some means of deterring public contact with animals (e.g., guardrails/barriers) must be in
place."

"Insufficient barrier fencing" is listed as one risk to visitors.

Animal lovers turned their anger toward the parents while mourning the death of the gorilla, lighting candles and holding "Rest in Peace" signs at the vigil.

"That child's life was in danger. At the end of the day, it falls on the parents. No one else," said Vanessa Hammonds, 27, who said she flew in from Houston to attend the vigil.

Authorities have not identified the boy.

Michelle Gregg, who identified herself on Facebook as his mother, asked others not to judge her because "accidents happen."

She said her son was recovering from a concussion and a few scrapes.

A family statement on Sunday expressed condolences for the animal's death.

"We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff," the statement said.

"We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are
grieving the loss of their gorilla."

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