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."

Facts:

  • 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.

Timeline:

  • 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

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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 humanesociety.org.

 

 

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