None needed at this time.
We anticipate reintroduction of this bill in the 115th Congress.
Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA)—co-chairs of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus—introduced the Captive Primate Safety Act (H.R. 2920). This bill would amend the Lacey Act to prohibit the sale and acquisition of nonhuman primates (including apes, monkeys, lemurs, and lorises) for the exotic pet trade.
Conservative estimates suggest there are at least 15,000 primates kept as pets in the United States. The Internet is rife with advertisements for baby primates for sale. Many of these animals are forcibly removed from their mothers when they are only a few days old—a tragic but common occurrence in the pet primate industry.
Unfortunately, even the most well-meaning individuals are typically not able to meet the needs of these animals, who quickly mature and increasingly exhibit their natural wild behaviors. Unlike in the wild, where most live in large social groups, almost all pet primates are kept in relative isolation, devoid of contact with others of their species, and in conditions detrimental to their health and well-being. Expectations that nonhuman primates behave like perfectly trained pets or even like "little humans" almost always end in physical and psychological suffering for the primate.
Federal legislation is also needed to protect public safety. Even small primates can inflict serious injuries. Since 1990, approximately 300 people have reported being injured by primates kept by private individuals. (Many more incidents likely go unreported.) In 2009, the case of a Connecticut woman who was blinded and lost most of her face and hands in an attack from her employer's pet chimpanzee gained worldwide attention. Additionally, nonhuman primates pose distinct risks to public health since they can easily transmit a wide range of viral, bacterial, parasitic, and fungal diseases to humans.