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For Immediate Release: 08/05/10

Born Free USA praises Illinois Governor Quinn for signing Primate Pet Ban into Law

CHICAGO — Born Free USA applauds Governor Pat Quinn for signing a bill that will prohibit the private ownership of primates as pets. Born Free USA works to Keep Wildlife in the Wild and now Illinois becomes the 22 state to send a message that primates belong in the wild–not in homes as "pets."

H.B. 4801, introduced by Rep. Daniel Burke, D-Chicago, and Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, prohibits primates as pets by adding these animals to the state Dangerous Animal Act. 

Incidents involving primate escapes or injuries to humans have occurred nationwide in recent years including chimpanzees, macaques, lemurs, snow monkeys, capuchins, and baboons. In many cases, escaped nonhuman primates are killed. Primates also pose a disease risk including Ebola, tuberculosis, and Herpes-b.

In August 2006, a rhesus macaque, kept as a "pet" in Chicago, escaped from his cage and bit a 14-year-old girl. The bite was serious enough for her to be admitted to hospital. This monkey now resides at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Texas, receiving appropriate, humane care.

"The primate pet trade involves enormous animal suffering and threats to human safety. These innocent animals may be confined in small cages or have their teeth or fingernails removed. There is simply no excuse for keeping primates as pets and this new law recognizes this." said Adam Roberts Executive Vice President of Born Free USA.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader on the issue of wild and exotic animals kept as pets and has assisted over 17 states and numerous cities with introducing and passing laws relating to private possession of dangerous wild animals. In addition, Born Free USA launched a groundbreaking investigation into the private ownership of exotic wild animals kept as pets, producing a report and DVD. Major findings included reckless behavior by private owners, which put themselves and others, including children, in danger of injury or attack; an alarming number of injuries and attacks by exotic animals on owners and others; and poor care and treatment, causing suffering and distress to animals.

Born Free USA’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos, and private possession.


Adam M. Roberts
Executive Vice President
Born Free USA
PO Box 32160
Washington, DC 20007

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