Get The Facts
In many states, people are allowed to keep primates in their homes and backyards without restrictions or with only minimal oversight.
- The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary is located on 186 acres near San Antonio, Texas, and provides a safe, permanent home to more than 500 macaques, vervets, and baboons.
- Millions of wild animals, including reptiles, large felines, nonhuman primates, and others, are kept in private possession in the U.S. The trade in exotic animals is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry.
When contacting public officials about legislation in your city, county, or state, in letters or calls, or at a public hearing, you may want to highlight these three reasons why they should institute and enforce a ban on possessing exotic animals as “pets”:
(This story appears in the fall/winter 2011 issue of Born Free USA's Animal Issues Digest.)
Fifi, a rhesus macaque, had been a "pet" in a tiny cage in her owner's New York City basement. Her tail was amputated, probably to facilitate putting diapers on her. Chappy, a crab-eating macaque, was a biomedical research subject; the stress of life in the lab led him to pluck his body bald. Dex, a stumptail macaque, also exploited for research, has only his thumb and index finger on his right hand.
The past 8 to 12 months have certainly been very busy at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. As I told you when I introduced myself, we recently completed a new, lush 2.5 acre enclosure for our group of baboons. Initially, I was most concerned about one of our older olive baboons, Boon, and his adjustment to the new surroundings following the 2008 death of his longtime companion, Holly. But Boon is thriving and when he’s not busy roaming the dense underbrush foraging for snacks he can be found perched stoically atop a large fallen tree — free to be a baboon.
“Keep Wildlife in the Wild” is more than just a slogan. It’s the bedrock philosophy of Born Free USA and our colleagues at the UK-based Born Free Foundation. Together, the global Born Free family works tirelessly to save animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care.
As our members know, A Life Sentence, the Animal Protection Institute’s 2006 investigation into the private ownership of exotic animals, has provided disturbing insight into the keeping of these animals as “pets.”
Imagine you’ve been chained to a tree in a backyard for months, without food or water or any hope of rescue. Imagine you’re at half your ideal body weight, the victim of devastating malnutrition, anemia, calcium deficiency, and stress fractures. Imagine you’ve been beaten with a stick so viciously that you bleed. All for the amusement and profit of others.