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The HSUS Applauds US Senate Committee for Advancing Bills to Protect Primates, Endangered Wildlife

The Humane Society of the United States

WASHINGTON — The Humane Society of the United States applauded the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for approving the Captive Primate Safety Act (H.R. 80/S. 462), a bill to protect public safety and promote animal welfare by prohibiting interstate commerce of primates for the pet trade. The HSUS also thanked the committee for approving two bills to benefit endangered wildlife, the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act (S. 529) and the Crane Conservation Act (H.R. 388/S. 197). The bills now move to the full Senate for consideration.

Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., introduced the Captive Primate Safety Act in February, and a companion bill in the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 323 to 95. The HSUS expressed its gratitude to Chairwoman Boxer and Ranking Member Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., for moving the bill quickly through their committee.

Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., introduced the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act to help fund conservation programs to protect rare dog and cat species outside North America. Species such as clouded leopards and African wild dogs are declining drastically due to habitat loss, poaching, disease and human-wildlife conflict. Sens. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, introduced the Crane Conservation Act to do the same for endangered crane populations in the United States and worldwide. Eleven of 15 crane species are at risk of extinction, and the North American whooping crane is the rarest of all cranes. Both wildlife bills have also passed the House.

"Given the patchwork of state and local laws, and the interstate nature of the primate pet trade, Congress needs to pass legislation to stem the tide of dangerous primates being sold in our communities," said Michael Markarian, chief operating officer of The HSUS. "Primates are wild animals who can attack and spread disease, and they don't belong in our bedrooms and basements. We are grateful to Senators Boxer and Vitter for their tremendous leadership in working to pass this urgently needed public safety and animal welfare measure. We also thank Senators Feingold, Lieberman, Brownback, and Crapo for introducing these conservation bills to provide a critical lifeline for rare dogs, cats and cranes around the world."

"The Captive Primate Safety Act is needed to complement the federal health regulations that prohibit importing primates into the United States for the pet trade and the rules that about 20 states – including Louisiana – have enacted to prohibit keeping primates as pets. Now that we've passed this important bill out of committee, we will continue working to get it through Congress and to the president's desk," said Sen. Vitter.

Born Free USA also joined The HSUS in supporting the three bills. "The desire to be close to exotic animals is understandable, but the risk to animals and people is just too great," noted Adam Roberts, senior vice president of Born Free USA. "Primates should not be pets."


  • The primate bill is similar to the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which Congress passed unanimously in 2003 to prohibit interstate commerce in lions, tigers and other big cats as pets.
  • Like the big cats bill, the Captive Primate Safety Act targets the pet trade and has no impact on zoos or research.
  • A list of recent incidents involving captive primates can be found humanesociety.org/primateincidents.


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 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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