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April 8, 2013

Arkansas Legislature Praised for Banning Primates as Pets

The Humane Society of the United States commends the Arkansas legislature for passage of House Bill 1391, a bill to prohibit the future private possession of apes (which includes chimpanzees), baboons and macaque monkeys. HB 1391 also requires registration of all primates, prohibits public contact with primates and requires individuals to comply with the Animal Welfare Act’s caging standards for primates. The bill, which passed the House overwhelmingly on April 2, was introduced by Rep. Warwick Sabin, D-33, and carried in the Senate by Sen. Jon Woods, R-7, where it passed unanimously. It now goes to Gov. Mike Beebe for his signature.

“This sensible legislation protects Arkansans from dangers related to attacks as well as potentially deadly viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections that pet primates can spread to people,” said Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife protection for The HSUS. “Arkansas joins dozens of other states that already have bans or restrictions on keeping primates as pets.”

Dr. William Mason with the Arkansas Department of Health and Susan Altrui at the Little Rock Zoo were instrumental in ensuring the passage of this important legislation. Experts including Jane Goodall, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Society of Primatologists, the Conference of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians oppose the private possession of primates.

Facts:

  • Baby primates are often pulled from their mothers when just hours or days old. Forced separation causes depression in both the mother and infant.
  • Primates kept as pets develop into mentally disturbed individuals with self-destructive and aberrant behaviors.
  • Primates kept as pets are often mutilated by having their teeth removed in a futile attempt to make them less dangerous. These painful procedures often result in chronic health problems.
  • They are maintained in extreme confinement and isolation as the pet owner discovers that primates inevitably become aggressive as they mature, and also cause a great deal of destruction to furniture and personal belongings.

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

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