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Captive Primate Safety Act Passes Senate Committee

Swift passage urged to protect public safety and animal welfare

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed the federal Captive Primate Safety Act (S. 1463), which would prohibit chimpanzees, monkeys and other primates from being transported in interstate commerce for the exotic pet trade. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement:

“Primates belong in the wild, or in accredited sanctuaries or zoos, not in people’s basements or backyards. Charla Nash’s recent visit to Capitol Hill reminded us of the terrible dangers posed for people and wild primates in mixing them together in our communities. We commend Senator Boxer, Senator Vitter and the Committee for passing this much needed reform, and hope it gets to the President before the year ends.”


  • Primates can inflict serious injuries and spread life-threatening disease, and the average pet owner cannot provide primates with proper care. Since 1990, more than 275 people—including scores of children—have been injured by primates; many more unreported incidents likely occurred
  • Primates can spread viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic diseases that pose serious health risks to humans. For example, most macaque monkeys naturally carry the Herpes B virus, which is often fatal to humans. Because of these risks, nonhuman primates cannot be imported into the U.S. for the pet trade.
  • Approximately 25 states prohibit keeping some or all primates as pets, and several others require a permit. Still, these animals are readily available for purchase from exotic animal breeders and dealers in the U.S. and over the Internet.

Media Contact: Naseem Amini, 301-548-7793, namini@humanesociety.org

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