We are asking supporters to stop the bill in its tracks by contacting their senators and representatives and asking them to vote no to the Captive Primate Act as it currently stands. The bill, which makes it unlawful for a person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase primates in interstate or foreign commerce-was recently passed by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and has the support of several misguided animal advocacy groups.
However we are asking lawmakers not to blindly accept this bill at face value and take a closer look at the flaws inherent within it, including keeping primates in zoos, legitimizing barbaric primate-training organizations, and weakening current legislation in other states. While the three groups agree it is necessary to protect primates from the horrific exotic pet trade, they are adamant that primates remain in their native habitats, or if unable to survive in the wild after being exploited, be placed in viable sanctuaries and refuges, not zoos that breed, trade and kill animals to enhance exhibits and attract tourists.
The bill plays to the lowest common denominator by portraying primates as non-human animals who have the ability to inflict serious injuries to humans and pose a threat to human health. The bill does not address the fact that the real reason primates are hazardous to human health is because they belong in nature, not in our homes as pets or in zoos for our entertainment.
This legislation also seeks to specifically legitimize the Boston-based, financially struggling organization, Helping Hands Monkey Helpers, which breeds captive capuchin monkeys and employs barbaric training practices (including total dental extraction and electrical shocks)so they can be sent into homes of handicapped people. This organization needs to be exempted because they are currently not USDA licensed despite the fact that their breeding colony is maintained at a local (non-AZA) zoo.
If they were licensed, they would not require the specific exemptions written into this bill, since USDA licensees are exempt. The passage of this federal measure would also be a step backward as it would outstrip stronger laws in other states that prevent privatization of nonhuman apes, monkeys and prosimians, such as in Connecticut. We are asking members of Congress to oppose the bill as it currently stands until proper legislation can be drafted and primates can be properly protected from the exotic pet-trade industry.
Take Action: Contact your state's members of Congress and ask them to vote NO on the passage of bill S.1463, The Captive Primate Safety Act, as it currently stands and wait until a bill can be drafted that properly protects primates from the pet-trade industry and does not exempt cruel primate-training facilities or weaken other state laws. Find the members of Congress from your state here.