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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 December 2006, 14:32 GMT
Hollywood chimps 'given freedom'
Sid Yost with Cody (l) and Sable
Mr Yost denied any wrongdoing. He said he would miss the chimps
A pair of chimps who appeared on a number of Hollywood film and TV shows, are being retired following allegations of animal cruelty.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund and other groups sued trainer Sid Yost last year in a US federal court, accusing him of beating the chimps with sticks.

Mr Yost did not acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement, which saw the chimps leave California.

A spokeswoman for the Animal Legal Defense Fund said they were "thrilled".

"They're not going to be forced to perform unwillingly anymore," said Lisa Franzetta.

"This is such a happy day to see these chimpanzees being retired."

The Animal Legal Defense Fund was set up by a group of primatologists, lawyers, scientists and actors who have started a campaign called No Reel Apes - to call for an end to the use of primates in entertainment.

The group accused Mr Yost of using an electric shock stick on the chimps and punching, taunting and intimidating them.

They love us and they trust and that's why we've done so well with them in the business
Tobin Dunlea, trainer

Sable, a female, and Cody, a male, have lived at Mr Yost's ranch in San Bernardino for five years with Angel, an older female, who will be shipped to Florida next week.

The chimps have appeared in productions including That 70s Show and forthcoming Bruce Almighty sequel, Evan Almighty.

Mr Yost denied abusing the animals and said he would miss them.

Tobin Dunlea, an animal trainer at the ranch for seven years, also denied the chimps were abused.

"They love us and they trust and that's why we've done so well with them in the business," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Sable and Cody will eventually join Angel at a sanctuary in Florida.




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