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April 19, 2013

Arkansas Legislative Session a Success for Animals

Measures enacted include ban on chimpanzees and other larger primates as pets and funding for animal shelters

chimp female

istockphoto

The Arkansas State Legislature passed a number of animal protection bills that were signed into law by Gov. Mike Beebe this legislative session, receiving praise from The Humane Society of the United States.

The measures included HB 1391, introduced Rep. Warwick Sabin, D-33, to prohibit the future private possession of apes (which includes chimpanzees), baboons and macaque monkeys as exotic pets. The measure, which was signed into law by Gov. Beebe on Thursday, also requires all primate owners to register their animal, regardless of species, with local law enforcement and comply with the federal Animal Welfare Act’s caging standards for primates, as well as not allow the public to come into direct contact with the primates.

The Arkansas Legislature also recognized the imperative need for funding animal welfare programs by appropriating funds for animal shelters and rescues.

In addition, lawmakers defeated “ag-gag” legislation, sponsored by Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, that sought to criminalize whistleblowing on factory farms and slaughter plants. Arkansas Animal Protection Coalition partnered with The Humane Society of the United States to help defeat this damaging legislation.

“We applaud the Arkansas Legislature and Governor Beebe for passage of these important measures including sensible legislation restricting primate ownership. Arkansas joins dozens of other states that already have bans or restrictions on keeping dangerous primates as exotic pets,” said Desiree Bender, Arkansas legislative director for The HSUS.  “We are also thankful that lawmakers defeated dangerous anti-whistleblower legislation, which would have silenced whistleblowers and shielded animal cruelty in factory farms.”

Media Contact:
Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org                

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