Monday, June 12, 2006

More chimps die at Texas center caring for ex-OSU primates

Three more chimpanzees have died at the Texas center where Ohio State University sent its primates in March.

That brings the total to five chimp deaths at Primarily Primates in three months, including two from Ohio State.

Wally Swett, president of Primarily Primates near San Antonio, confirmed the deaths of the three additional non-OSU animals, the latest one on June 3. One of the animals, Lynn, was euthanized. Swett said she suffered from a spinal infection.

Another, Marty, died of peritonitis, he said, which is an inflammation of an abdomen membrane, and Arthur died June 3 of an unknown neurological problem.

"He climbed in his bed and he died at 11:30 in the morning," Swett said.

Many of the animals living at Primarily Primates have been used in medical experiments and deaths among them are not unusual, Swett said.

These newest deaths follow those of Kermit and Bobby, two OSU chimps that died of heart problems shortly after arriving at the center.

"A pre-existing heart condition is a common catchphrase," said April Truitt, of the Primate Rescue Center at Nicholasville, Ky.

Primate Rescue and Primarily Primates are among nine greatape retirement centers in North America.

"Five is a lot. I would be curious as to the circumstances of those deaths," Truitt said.

Larry Cummins, a veterinarian at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, said several deaths in a short period is not unheard of.

"We’re sending them up there to die. It’s an old folks’ home," he said.


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