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While there's no denying how adorable a baby chimpanzee or spider monkey may be, efforts to contain these animals as pets are as shortsighted as they are costly.

The Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science has stood behind research that categorically labels nonhuman primates as unsuitable for private ownership since 2008 [1]. The American Bar Association supports even more sweeping standards, adopting a resolution in 2015 supporting laws prohibiting the "possession, sale, breeding, import, or transfer of dangerous wild animals, such as big cats, bears, wolves, primates, and dangerous reptiles" [2].

Yet, the primate trade continues to operate in the United States. According to National Geographic, anything from macaques to marmosets, and even endangered species, can be procured for upwards of $50,000 [3]. But no matter how cute or clever, keeping a primate a a pet can set that animal up for serious frustrations in life.

"If you try to keep them as pets you're creating a mentally disturbed animal in 99.9 percent of the cases," said Veterinarian Kevin Wright, director of conservation, science and sanctuary at the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona. "The animal will never be able to fit in any other home. Never learn how to get along with other monkeys. And, more often than not, will end up with a lot of behavioral traits that are self-destructive."

Beyond primate personality problems, the bacteria these animals are capable of carrying can prove deadly to humans, and vice versa. Some monkeys are capable of transmitting the Herpes B virus, which can lead to severe brain damage or death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [4].

"By definition, a pet is an animal we touch and play with in our homes and in no way is it in a primate's best interest to be constantly touched and played with by people. They need their own social groups, are extremely hard to care for and often grow up to be aggressive and impossible to control," said veterinary surgeon and CEO of Twycross Zoo, Warwicks, Dr Sharon Redrobe to The Guardian [5]. "Owners then take them to a vet, expecting them to be magically 'fixed'. They're wild animals and, in that respect, no different to tigers. You wouldn't keep a tiger at home, so don't keep a monkey."

The legislated protections for primates in the U.S. come primarily from the Animal Welfare Act, which merely requires enclosures be of a certain size [6], but place no restrictions on the sales or transport of the animals.

The dangers of keeping a primate warrant a nationwide ban on the ownership of any primate as a pet, no matter the species. Sign below to demand the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, and the House Committee on Agriculture work together to put a full ban on owning primates as pets in the U.S.

Sign Here

Dear U.S. Department of Agriculture, Senate Committee on Agriculture, and House Committee on Agriculture,

The practice of taking in primates as pets, apart from posing serious threats to the health of both the animals and their owners alike, is foolish and irresponsible, and deserves to be prohibited within the United States.

Apart from the high costs and unexpected damages that come with primate ownership, humans with such pets are at a greater risk of catching the deadly Herpes B virus, and leaving the animals they intend to care for with long-lasting psychological issues.

No matter the species, whether a capuchin, spider monkey, macaque or marmoset, primates are wild animals, and belong in a wild habitat. They simply cannot flourish in a human home, yet the unscrupulous trade and transportation of these animals continues in our country to this day.

According to National Geographic, it's anything but difficult to find a primate for sale online, even some of the more endangered species can be procured for upwards of $50,000. And the Animal Welfare Act, the U.S. clearing house of animal protection rules, lends hardly any sense of security to primates, only dictating the minimum enclosure size.

People who take in primates as pets often wind up wishing they hadn't, with nothing but a pet in poor health and a home in disrepair. The dangers of keeping a monkey are more than enough to warrant a nationwide ban on the ownership of any primate as a pet, no matter the species. I urge you to put this ban before a congressional committee immediately, and help us prevent any more needless suffering.


Petition Signatures

May 23, 2018 Barb Breese
May 22, 2018 DALE KASMAN
May 22, 2018 Shellie Vann-Volk
May 22, 2018 Charmaine McCarroll
May 21, 2018 Tina Collins
May 21, 2018 Diane Parks
May 21, 2018 Minerva Krueger
May 21, 2018 Louisa Gauerke
May 21, 2018 Kathleen Hoban
May 21, 2018 Jennifer Rier
May 21, 2018 iza stawicka
May 19, 2018 Suzanne Marienau
May 19, 2018 Alison Lees-Taylor
May 19, 2018 Carla sJ
May 18, 2018 Nina Bergman
May 18, 2018 Soraya Hemming
May 17, 2018 M t
May 17, 2018 Sieglinda Preez
May 17, 2018 Kathryn Lewis Parmentier
May 17, 2018 Carolyn Silvestro
May 17, 2018 Stanley Staron
May 17, 2018 Maryann Staron
May 17, 2018 Brian Swift
May 17, 2018 (Name not displayed)
May 17, 2018 Amy Veloz It's cruel to keep primates as pets. They need to live in their family groups. These creatures are not things to be bought and sold.
May 17, 2018 Ruth Campbell
May 17, 2018 Karla Price
May 17, 2018 Doria Whitlatch
May 17, 2018 Ann Moriarity
May 17, 2018 Michelle Myers Primates should not be allowed to b e kept as pets.
May 17, 2018 Jenny Ankin Leave primates in the wild.
May 17, 2018 Zoe Kane
May 17, 2018 Ginger Gorum
May 17, 2018 (Name not displayed)
May 17, 2018 (Name not displayed)
May 17, 2018 (Name not displayed)
May 17, 2018 Dorothy Chandler
May 17, 2018 Marjorie Edwards Please just rescue a dog, cat, rabbit..anything but a born to be free wild animal. So many domestic pets need loving homes. They're forever grateful.
May 17, 2018 Carol Henderson
May 17, 2018 Betty Stroud
May 17, 2018 Maria Hinojosa
May 17, 2018 Susan WoodKotkoski
May 17, 2018 Liam Perry
May 17, 2018 Jim Sigg
May 17, 2018 (Name not displayed)
May 17, 2018 (Name not displayed)
May 17, 2018 Amaia Perez
May 17, 2018 Rosemarie Stepanik These sales need to be stopped and people prosecuted - unethical at best !! We need laws to stop this and elected people who will finally enforce and tighten laws.
May 17, 2018 Betty Leach
May 17, 2018 Robert M/Carol G Reed

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