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Captive Primate Safety Act Introduced in Senate to Prohibit Interstate Commerce in Monkeys, Apes and Other Primates

Senators introduced a bill that seeks to protect public safety and promote animal welfare by helping state law enforcement crack down on the trade of primates for private possession, and to promote global conservation efforts. Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and David Vitter, R-La., introduced the bill, S. 1463 or the Captive Primate Safety Act, on August 1.

Almost half the states ban the private possession of primates as pets, but primates are easily obtained via the Internet and through out-of-state dealers and auctions, making a federal law necessary to support the efforts of state law enforcement. A Senate committee cleared similar legislation last year, but Congress adjourned before it could be enacted. Since 1990, more than 270 people—including 86 children—have been injured by captive primates, and many more incidents likely went unreported.

Sen. Boxer said: “I am pleased to again introduce the Captive Primate Safety Act along with Senator Vitter. This bipartisan legislation would prohibit the transportation of primates across state lines for the pet trade. As we have seen from multiple attacks, these animals pose a serious threat to public health and safety.  Passage of this bill is long overdue.”

Sen. Vitter said: "The Captive Primate Safety Act would complement laws in about 20 states - including Louisiana - prohibiting keeping primates as pets. This would ensure that primates are treated humanely, as most people are not properly trained to handle and care for primates. And it will also help prevent horrifying primate attacks that can easily happen out of the blue when people falsely think they are tame and safe as household pets."

For more information, check out our press release on the House version of the bill.