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Sugar Candy

Animal rights activists are suing a New Orleans amusement park after one of its caged chimpanzees was found smoking cigarettes and consuming soft drinks.

20 November 2015

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Candy, a resident at Baton Rouge park for over 50 years, is the subject of a federal lawsuit by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which wants the chimp moved to a sanctuary.

The lawsuit states: 'Defendants have for decades allowed members of the general public to throw items into Candy's cage, including lit cigarettes that Candy smokes. Just as with humans, cigarette smoking is very harmful for chimpanzees.'

The suit is the first filed under a new law that requires captive chimps to be afforded the same protection as wild chimps, according to Carter Dillard, the group's attorney.

The change, which came into effect on 14 September, has changed the classification of captive chimps from threatened to endangered, the same category as wild chimpanzees.

The activists have taken legal action on behalf of Cathy Breaux, 62, and Holly Reynolds, 96, who have long campaigned to get Candy moved from the park.

The suit continued: 'Cathy and Holly remain upset, distressed, and concerned that Candy is isolated throughout the day, deprived of companionship with other chimpanzees, and insufficiently stimulated in her empty cage.'

When asked for a response, Jennifer Treadway-Morris, the attorney for park owner Sam Haynes, said she had not yet read the lawsuit but that government agency rules such as those imposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service could not be applied retrospectively.

She added that an attempt to retire Candy to the Baton Rouge Zoo had previously failed.

According to the suit, city animal control officials cited the park in 2012 for not providing the chimp with water.

'Defendants provide Candy exclusively with Coca-Cola instead, claiming that Candy does not like water. However, Candy has readily accepted and drunk water offered to her by visiting experts. Water, not Coca-Cola, is an essential requirement for chimpanzees,' it said.


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