Thursday, August 02, 2007

US Senate Committee Approves Measure to Stop Trade in Pet Primates

US Senate Committee Approves Measure to Stop Trade in Pet Primates

July 31, 2007

The Humane Society of the United States lauded the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for today's unanimous approval of the Captive Primate Safety Act, S. 1498, which adds monkeys, chimpanzees, and other primates to the list of animals that cannot be transported or purchased across state lines as exotic pets. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

"Primates kept as pets pose a double threat. They can attack people and can spread deadly diseases," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The HSUS. "We applaud the committee for cracking down on this dangerous monkey business."

The HSUS thanked the two authors of the bill, Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Senator David Vitter (R-La.), along with Committee Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-Okla.), for their leadership in support of the legislation.

"The Captive Primate Safety Act, S.1498, provides a sensible approach to both the humane and public health problems posed by the trade of primates as pets."  Senator Boxer said in a statement in June.

"This bill is needed to work in conjunction with state rules - like ours in Louisiana - that prohibit keeping primates as pets," said Senator Vitter.

A companion bill, H.R 2964, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.) and Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.). It was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.

"The global trade in exotic animals -- especially primates -- as pets is a very dangerous enterprise indeed," noted Adam Roberts, vice president of Born Free USA. "We urge the US Congress to lead the way in closing down this unnecessary commercial wildlife trafficking."


  • An estimated 15,000 primates are kept in private hands in the United States.
  • At least 100 people have been injured by captive primates over the past decade, including 29 children, according to the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition.
  • Federal health regulations have prohibited importing primates into the United States for the pet trade since 1975.
  • About 17 states prohibit the private ownership of primates as pets, and additional states require permits for them.
  • The federal bill does not ban possession, but addresses the interstate commerce in primates, who are often sold over the Internet and at auctions around the country.
  • The bill targets the pet trade and has no impact on zoos or other licensed facilities.
  • The bill is similar to the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which Congress passed unanimously in 2003 to bar interstate commerce in lions, tigers, and other big cats as pets. It includes technical corrections to facilitate enforcement of the big cats bill.
  • The bill is endorsed by numerous organizations including the American Veterinary Medical Association, Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Born Free USA, and the Jane Goodall Institute.
  • The Captive Primate Safety Act passed the U.S. Senate unanimously in 2006 but was blocked in the U.S. House by Representative Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), then-chairman of the House Resources Committee. Pombo was defeated in his reelection bid.


  • July 31, 2007 - Captive Primate Safety Act, S. 1498, reported favorably by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  • July 10, 2007 - Captive Primate Safety Act, H.R. 2964, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • May 25, 2007 - Iowa bill prohibiting primates and other wild animals as pets signed into law.
  • May 24, 2007 - Captive Primate Safety Act, S. 1498, introduced in the U.S. Senate.
  • April 30, 2007 - Washington state bill prohibiting private possession of primates and other wild animals signed into law.
  • July 11, 2006 - Captive Primate Safety Act passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent.
  • June 19, 2006 - Captive Primate Safety Act approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  • May 16, 2006 - Maryland bill prohibiting primates and other wild animals as pets signed into law.
  • April 6, 2006 - Louisiana banned private possession of primates.
  • July 27, 2005 - Captive Primate Safety Act introduced in the U.S. Senate.
  • July 15, 2005 - Kentucky banned private possession of primates and other wild animals.
  • March 16, 2005 - Captive Primate Safety Act introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • March 3, 2005 - A man was brutally beaten by a chimpanzee who escaped his enclosure at an exotic animal facility in California


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization -- backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- On the web at



Little Cat Wins

Little Cat Wins

July 27, 2007

The Humane Society of the United States applauded a move by the U.S. House of Representatives July 26, 2007 to strengthen the federal protections for pets and laboratory animals. The House accepted an amendment to the Farm Bill by Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) that prevents stolen pets from being sold into research, bars the use of live animals in medical device sales demonstrations and increases fines for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

One provision of the legislation is a response to a recent high-profile incident earlier this year at the Cleveland Clinic, in which a staff member demonstrated a medical device on a live dog as a sales gimmick. Another provision is in response to recent investigations of "Class B" dealers who have been known to traffic in family pets for research.

"Animals in research must be treated humanely, not used frivolously, and must be not be obtained from disreputable sources," said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. "This action by the Congress clamps down on the few unscrupulous animal dealers who steal or procure family pets for research, and will put a stop to a demonstration procedure that the vast majority of people in the biomedical research community consider unethical."

The HSUS thanked House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) for accepting the Israel-Doyle amendment as part of the Farm Bill. The amendment combined two HSUS-driven bills previously introduced in the House:

  • H.R. 1280, the Pet Safety and Protection Act, by Rep. Doyle and Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.), prohibits the use in research of random source dogs and cats obtained from Class B dealers, who sell animals acquired from a variety of sources rather than those bred specifically for research. Such random source animals may be stolen pets or those acquired fraudulently through "free to good home" ads, and include 18,000 to 19,000 dogs and cats per year.
  • H.R. 2193, the Animal Welfare Accountability Improvement Act, by Rep. Israel and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), bars the use of live animals for sales demonstrations of medical devices. Recently, at the Cleveland Clinic, a doctor induced an aneurysm in a live dog and had several salespeople try their hands at a medical device to market the product. The legislation also increases fines for researchers violating the AWA.

"I've been working for 10 years to shut these guys down," said Congressman Doyle. "This is a tremendous step forward towards achieving our goal of ending the systemic abuses of the Animal Welfare Act in the gray market for dogs and cats.  I'm very pleased that the House adopted our amendment."

"We need to ensure that animals are treated humanely at all times and we must do everything we can to prevent them from being stolen for research purposes or abused to sell medical devices," said Congressman Israel. "The intent of the American Welfare Act was to ensure that animals in both research and home settings were treated humanely and to protect the owners of animals from theft of their animals. Yet more than 40 years later, we are still working to achieve this goal. We've now strengthened this important legislation to ensure that animals aren't tortured for sales or marketing purposes and to prevent pets and stray animals on the street from being stolen and sold to research