July 22, 2010
The HSUS, HSLF Praise Illinois Governor for Signing Primate Pet Ban and Antifreeze Safety Bills
CHICAGO — The Humane Society of the United States, with more than 460,000 supporters in Illinois, and the Humane Society Legislative Fund, commend Gov. Pat Quinn for signing two important animal protection and public safety measures passed by the Illinois General Assembly. The bills prohibit the private ownership of primates as pets and require the addition of a bitter flavor agent to antifreeze and engine coolant sold in the state in order to prevent poisoning of children and animals. Gov. Quinn signed the measures at PAWS Chicago's eighth annual Beach Party celebration before an audience of hundreds of animal lovers and their canine companions.
"I am pleased to be able to enact these two common-sense safety measures that will help protect the public and animals," said Gov. Quinn.
H.B. 4722, sponsored by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, and Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, requires the addition of a bitter flavor agent to antifreeze and engine coolant to prevent poisoning. When inadvertently spilled or left in open containers, these sweet-tasting products can pose a hazard to children, pets and wildlife. This bill was also championed by the Consumer Specialty Products Association, and Honeywell International, manufacturer of Prestone®, one of the country's best-known brands of antifreeze.
H.B. 4801, introduced by Rep. Daniel Burke, D-Chicago, and Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, prohibits primates as pets by adding these animals to the state Dangerous Animal Act. Keeping primates as pets threatens public health and safety as well as animal welfare. Primates can inflict serious injuries, as demonstrated by last year's tragic chimpanzee attack in Connecticut, and spread life-threatening diseases. The average pet owner cannot meet their basic social and physical needs in captivity. Often acquired as infants, these animals can quickly grow too difficult to handle and may end up confined to small cages, isolated from others of their kind.
"The Humane Society of the United States applauds Governor Quinn for signing these bills," said Jordan Matyas, Illinois state director for The Humane Society of the United States. "These bills attracted bipartisan support because they protect animal welfare and public safety."
Facts about antifreeze poisoning:
- An estimated 90,000 animals are poisoned each year after ingesting ethylene glycol, the highly toxic substance used in auto antifreeze and coolant. The bill will require manufacturers to add bitter-tasting denatonium benzoate to antifreeze and coolant sold in the state.
- Illinois becomes the 14th state to require antifreeze contain a bittering agent. The other states where HSLF has worked to pass similar legislation are: Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and Washington. Bills are pending in Georgia, New Hampshire and Ohio.
Facts about primates as pets:
- With today's signing, 22 states now prohibit primates as pets.
- The U.S. Congress is addressing this issue through the Captive Primate Safety Act (H.R. 80/S. 462) to prohibit interstate commerce of primates for the pet trade. Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill, is a lead-sponsor of the bill.
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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 28. 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.