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The HSUS, HSLF Call for Swift Passage of Bill to Protect Primates

The Humane Society of the United States

WASHINGTON — The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund applauded the introduction yesterday of the Captive Primate Safety Act (H.R. 80). The bill, introduced by U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., will protect public health and safety as well as animal welfare by prohibiting interstate commerce in primates for the exotic pet trade. The House of Representatives passed a similar measure last June by an overwhelming vote of 302-96.

"Primates are highly social and intelligent creatures who shouldn't be traded over the Internet just to languish in small cages," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The Humane Society of the United States, and president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. "Hardly a month goes by without another attack by a pet primate, and it's time to put an end to this dangerous monkey business."

"The Captive Primate Safety Act is common-sense legislation that will further protect our communities and promote animal welfare," said Rep. Blumenauer. "Importing primates for the pet trade is already prohibited because of health concerns and this bill will expand those protections by addressing the serious risks involved in domestic primate trade. Building upon the strong support of this bill in the last Congress, I look forward to working towards its passage in this one."

Rep. Kirk said, "It is inhumane to cage primates in private homes. Besides the animal cruelty concerns, the interstate movement of pet primates creates serious public health and safety risks. The Captive Primate Safety Act takes important steps to address these concerns."

Primates can inflict serious injuries and spread life-threatening disease, and the average pet owner cannot provide for their basic social, psychological and physical needs in captivity. Because many of these animals are sold in interstate commerce, federal legislation is needed to complement the laws 20 states have prohibiting private possession of primates as pets.

Born Free USA has joined The HSUS and HSLF in urging swift passage of the legislation. "The global trade in exotic animals — especially primates — as pets is a very dangerous enterprise indeed," noted Adam Roberts, senior vice president of Born Free USA. "We applaud Reps. Blumenauer and Kirk for introducing this important legislation."

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 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.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. On the web at hslf.org.