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Senate Committee Passes Captive Primate Safety Act -- Good News For Chimps And Humans Alike

A bill that would make it more difficult to keep primates, like chimps, as exotic pets by outlawing their sale over state lines was passed today by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Charla Nash, who was brutally attacked by a friend's pet chimp in 2009, is one of the bill's strongest proponents. Nash spoke at a press conference on Capitol Hill earlier this month urging Congress to pass the proposed legislation, called the Federal Captive Primate Safety Act.

"What happened to me must never happen to anyone again," said Nash, who underwent a face transplant following the violent incident.

The committee's approval also came as welcome news to animal advocates, who are concerned that the humans aren't the only ones being harmed by the trade in exotic pets.

"Primates belong in the wild, or in accredited sanctuaries or zoos, not in people's basements or backyards," Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society said in a statement. "We commend [the bill's sponsors] Senator Boxer, Senator Vitter and the Committee for passing this much needed reform, and hope it gets to the president before the year ends."