August 27, 2014
Dear Ms. Chitrabhanu,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Captive Primate Safety Act. This legislation would amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to add nonhuman primates to the definition of “prohibited wildlife species” for purposes of the prohibition against the sale or purchase of such species in interstate or foreign commerce. I share your view on this issue, and I supported this legislation as a Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and look forward to voting for it when it comes to the Senate floor.
This legislation is important because there are over 15,000 privately owned moneys and primates in the United States, many of which are being kept as pets. Keeping chimpanzees as pets in our homes and communities poses serious health and public safety risks. These non-human primates can carry a host of diseases, including but not limited to: yellow fever, monkey pox, Ebola and Marburg virus, tuberculosis and the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), the primate form of HIV.
Additionally, these animals suffer undue neglect and abuse in the pet trade. Often times these primates are taken at an early age which not only causes stress and trauma for both the mother and offspring, but creates a situation where these animals grow to be too strong and aggressive for their owners to handle. These highly intelligent animals require special care, housing, diet and maintenance that the average person cannot provide. I fully support the Captive Primate Safety Act, which will put an end to this dangerous and abusive practice of domesticating primates.
Thank you again for writing to express your concerns and I hope that you keep in touch with my office regarding future legislation. For more information on this and other important issues, please visit my website at http://gillibrand.senate.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter.
United States Senator