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House Legislation

Sponsor(s): Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)

H.R. 3556: Humane Care for Primates Act of 2013

Born Free USA Position: Support

This bill, supported by Born Free USA and sponsored by Representatives Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR), requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to change the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulations governing the importation of nonhuman primates (NHPs) from abroad. Currently, facilities may import a primate for only “bona fide scientific, educational, or exhibition purposes.” The regulation does not include an allowance for “animal welfare purposes,” thereby prohibiting true wildlife sanctuaries from importing primates.

This bill requires the Secretary of HHS to include certified animal sanctuaries within the categories for which primates may be imported. Furthermore, the Secretary will establish a certification process for sanctuaries to ensure that only high-quality sanctuaries can participate under this new rule.

The bill creates strict guidelines for which sanctuaries may be certified by the Secretary, to ensure that no one can use this new rule as a loophole. A sanctuary must:

  • Be a nonprofit organization.
  • Not commercially trade in any animals, parts, byproducts, and offspring.
  • Not breed primates.
  • Not allow direct contact between the public and primates.
  • Not allow unescorted public visitation at the sanctuary.
  • Not allow animals to be removed from their enclosures for exhibition or educational purposes.
  • Not conduct research on animals, except where the sanctuary determines that it would benefit the health and welfare of the animal.

See our fact sheet for more details about the bill, read the full text and follow its progress here, or click here to contact your Representative.

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