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Born Free USA Applauds Introduction of Captive Primate Safety Act

Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, applauds US Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Brian Fitzpatrick and US Senator Richard Blumenthal for introducing the Captive Primate Safety Act.

This bipartisan and bicameral legislation is a critical solution to the cruel and dangerous pet trade in nonhuman primates. The bill would ban the private possession of primates in the US, effectively shutting down the trade of primates as pets. 

According to Angela Grimes, CEO of Born Free USA, “The simple truth is all nonhuman primates are wild animals. In their natural environments, most species live in complex, multigenerational, social hierarchies. And yet the cruel pet trade subjects these intelligent, sensitive animals to lives of isolation, restriction, and complete disconnect from their own kind. Even with the best of intentions, holding primates captive causes health and developmental issues as well as serious emotional and psychological harm.”

“At our primate sanctuary, we have witnessed this firsthand in the many monkeys who came to us after years of suffering and neglect as ‘pets’ in private homes. Wild animals are unable to be domesticated. Primates will also always be a risk to public safety — demonstrated by countless tragic incidents. It is time for a federal solution to protect both primates and people. We’re grateful to Sen. Blumenthal and Reps. Blumenauer and Fitzpatrick for introducing such a solution with the Captive Primate Safety Act.”

While more than 30 states already prohibit private ownership, primates are easily obtained through out-of-state dealers and auctions and via the internet, making a federal law necessary to support state enforcement efforts. Conservative estimates suggest there are approximately 15,000 primates in US homes, kept as “pets.” Since 1990, approximately 300 people — including dozens of children — have been injured by primates, and many more incidents go unreported. Primates also pose disease risks, including transmission of Ebola, tuberculosis, and herpes-B.   

“This measure protects both primates and people. Wild animals belong in the wild, not shackled and mistreated in someone’s backyard. Humans often are injured by wild animals kept as pets because their deeply ingrained instincts resist domestication, causing them to be dangerously unpredictable pets. The Captive Primate Safety Act is about safety, but also basic humane behavior — ending exploitation of these human-like, highly intelligent, social animals,” said Blumenthal.

“Primates are not pets. Allowing these animals to be kept in private captivity is not just cruel. It puts our communities at tremendous risk as we have seen in horrific cases in Oregon and elsewhere. Enacting this bipartisan, common-sense proposal is long overdue to protect both primates and the public,” said Blumenauer.

“For far too long primates have been mistreated, exploited, and abused while also carrying deadly diseases which may endanger humans,” said Fitzpatrick. “As Co-Chair of the Animal Protection Caucus, I remain committed in working across the aisle to promote animal welfare, and I am proud to lead this critical bipartisan and bicameral legislation to prohibit the unlicensed, private possession of primates and put animal safety first.”

Born Free USA applauds these wildlife Champions for introducing this important, humane legislation, and strongly urges Congress to swiftly take up and pass the Captive Primate Safety Act. 

Featured image: Amy Jones/Moving Animals.

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