Bill will prohibit interstate commerce of monkeys, apes and other primates
Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 600 primates, many of whom were previously “pets”
Washington, DC, (July 31, 2013) – Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, applauds U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. and Michael G. Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., for introducing H.R. 2856, the Captive Primate Safety Act, and urges the bill’s swift passage. The bill seeks to prohibit interstate commerce of monkeys, apes and other primates for the exotic pet trade.
Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA said, “The captive primate trade involves horrific animal suffering and serious threats to human safety. The animals often spend their lives confined in small cages as someone’s ‘pet,’ and face barbaric treatment such as having their teeth extracted. We cannot allow animals to be mutilated in the name of companionship. There is no excuse for keeping nonhuman primates as pets. They cannot be domesticated or tamed. Their natural behavior is dangerous and they belong in the wild, not in someone’s home.”
About half of the states already prohibit private possession of some or all primate species as pets, but primates are easily obtained via the Internet and through out-of-state dealers and auctions, making a federal law necessary to support the efforts of state law enforcement and to promote global conservation efforts. Similar legislation has been passed in the House of Representatives previously.
Infant monkeys used for the pet trade are typically removed from their mothers, as babies are in high demand. However people quickly discover that primates are extremely active, messy, destructive, and bite. Ultimately, weary of attacks on people and damage to the home, pet monkeys are often relegated to a life of isolation, loneliness, frustration and neglect. When people do decide to relinquish them, there are few places to turn.
The 186 acre Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley Texas, is home to more than 600 primates, some of whom are former “pets”. Roberts explains, “The conditions we have found many of these animals in is truly unimaginable and sickening – small cages in dark basements covered in their own feces. We are happy to be able to provide some of these victims with a large open place to live out their lives in freedom, with proper food and care, social interaction with other primates, and grass and trees for the first time in their lives.”
Since 1990, more than 250 people – including dozens of children – have been injured by primates, and many more incidents go unreported. Primates also pose disease risks, including transmission of Ebola, tuberculosis and herpes-B. The Born Free USA primate sanctuary exotic incident database www.bornfreeusa.org/database tracks primate incidents as well as other wildlife (lions, tigers, reptiles). So far in 2013, a dozen incidents have been reported including dangerous escapes in Kansas, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana and injuries to humans in Missouri (six year old boy bitten), and Texas (police officer bitten).
“Passage of the Captive Primate Safety Act cannot happen soon enough. These animals are suffering every day and humans are in serious danger,” Roberts emphasizes.
Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, at Twitter twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and one Facebook facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.