Born Free USA Position: SUPPORT
Update: This bill died in April, 2014.
Prohibits the owning, possessing, maintaining, selling, or trading primates for which there is no rabies vaccine. These restricted primates include apes, baboons, and Old World Monkeys.
Read our exotic pets page for information on the inherent risks to animal welfare and public safety.
Why should private ownership of Old World Monkeys be banned?
The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary cares for over 600 primates, all but fifteen of which are macaque species (Old World monkeys commonly kept as pets). Over one hundred of the macaques we care for are victims of the exotic pet trade who relinquished by “owners” who could not provide for them adequately. All of them have bitten someone at some point and some are here after being confiscated by law enforcement officials.
Pet trade breeder remove the infant from the mother at as young as two days of age. Neither the mother nor the infant separate willingly and frequently a breeder has to chemically immobilize or use physical force to subdue the mother in order to peel the infant from her body. Sadly some mothers have had this happen so frequently that they become highly stressed and psychologically damaged to the point that they may abandon the baby entirely – something that rarely occurs in healthy wild populations.
Macaque species that develop abnormally due to these unnatural circumstances can become very dangerous for human caretakers. They become much stronger, more agile, and aggressive as they near physiological maturity and often become very good escape artists. Few people can afford appropriate indoor and outdoor housing for the monkey and so he or she will likely end up in a small cage where their natural inclinations are further stifled, in turn leading to further frustration and more violent outbursts. It is not unusual for these monkeys to escape their cages multiple times prior to injuring someone. Having no fear of humans this wild animal poses a severe risk to anyone in the general area should he escape.
Non-human primates are, in every sense of the word, wild animals and attempts to fully domesticate them throughout history have failed. They all continue to display their natural tendencies and are frequently un-predictable and volatile and become even more so when reared abnormally in a human household.
Once at the Sanctuary it often takes a great deal of time to undo or mitigate some of the damage that’s been done to the animal either physically or emotionally and assist them to the point where they can co-habit with another monkey and enjoy a more natural and freer life than one lived in a household.
Alabama residents, call or email your state representative and ask him/her to support this important legislation!