Primate, monkey, pets,

Urge Congress to OPPOSE the Captive Primate Safety Act

If passed, The Captive Primate Safety Act would prohibit interstate commerce of monkeys, chimpanzees, and other primates as pets.

The Capitive Primate Safety Act (H.R. 3135/S. 1588proposes to amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to prohibit the importation, exportation, transportation, and sale, receipt, acquisition, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce of nonhuman primates as pets. The proponents argue that federal legislation is needed to curb the pet trade of nonhuman primates, which they argue pose health risks to the public, and to protect nonhuman primates from improper care.

The Captive Primate Safety Act was opposed by the Department of the Interior in the 116th Congress because of the costs and hardships associated to enforce this legislation. 

There is no public health or safety risk associated with captive primates: According to the statistics cited by the proponents of this bill, there have been 80 recorded injuries from pet monkeys in the U.S. from 1995 to 2005. An American therefore has a 1 in 38 million chance in being bitten by a monkey. Although nonhuman primates can carry zoonotic diseases (which are scientifically possible to transmit to a human and vice versa), there have been NO instances in the United States in which a human has contracted a disease or died from a bite from a pet monkey. There is an absence of an appreciable health risk which is backed up by statistics from the CDC verifying the lack of disease transmission or death from pet nonhuman primates.

This bill would cost $4 million-plus a year to enforce:  The estimated costs associated with enforcing this bill are $4 million per year. In addition, the implementation costs have been estimated at $17 million. On a per bite incident basis, the cost that will be spent to prevent each bite is a half a million dollars. This is especially alarming given the present economic conditions of this country and the difficulties in enforcement anticipated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Duplicates existing law: Most, if not all, states have laws prohibiting animal cruelty or neglect. Approximately 40 states have some sort of regulation for the ownership of nonhuman primates. In addition, countless municipalities and local governments have ordinances or city codes addressing issues associated with the ownership of nonhuman primates. These local laws represent the balance appropriate for the respective communities and those communities are charged with the responsibility and expense associated with enforcement. For nonhuman primate species determined to have a high need for protection, the Endangered Species Act already prohibits their sale and international trade as pets. Every state already requires a health certificate for entry into the state and it should be left to the states to make these decisions, not the federal government.

Would have negative consequences:  This bill does not exempt interstate travel with nonhuman primate in the case of an emergency such as an evacuation due to a tornado or hurricane. Owners would not be able to visit family members in another state and take their pets with them or attend educational opportunities such as seminars and conventions given by nonhuman primate organizations. These educational opportunities are very important for owners to stay current on animal care techniques and enrichment strategies for their pets. Nonhuman primate owners are very serious about the care of their pets that are a part of their family just the same as domestic animals are a part of many American families. This bill would do nothing but create a needless and unfair hardship for the existing owners of these animals.

Overreach by Federal Government:  The importation and regulation of primates should be handled by the state and not the Federal Government.

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