New Report Brings Together Experts to Call for Immediate Ban on Pet Monkeys and Apes

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Leading animal welfare and conservation nonprofit Born Free USA has today launched Public Danger, Private Pain: The Case against the U.S. Primate Pet Trade, a groundbreaking new report that further underscores the need for strong federal legislation to ban the keeping of monkeys and apes as pets in the United States. Bringing together experts in primatology, animal welfare, legislative policy, law enforcement, global wildlife trade, and even a former pet monkey owner, the report presents a compelling argument in favor of the Captive Primate Safety Act, a bill that was introduced in both houses of Congress in May of this year.

In a groundbreaking new report that brings together experts in primatology, animal welfare, legislative policy, law enforcement and the global wildlife trade, leading animal welfare and conservation nonprofit Born Free USA underscores the need for strong federal legislation to ban keeping of monkeys and apes as pets.

The bill, championed by Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., would prohibit the private keeping of primates as pets, as well as preventing dangerous interactions with these animals in public places such as zoos. The move is necessary, says the expert panel convened by Born Free USA, in the interests of public safety, animal welfare, and conservation efforts.

Said Born Free USA’s Programs Director, Dr. Liz Tyson:

“Born Free USA runs one of the largest primate sanctuaries in the United States so, in addition to our expertise in animal welfare and conservation, we see first-hand the damage that the cruel trade in primates as pets inflicts on the animals themselves. Not only does the private keeping of monkeys and apes pose a significant risk of injury and disease spread to humans, it has a lifetime impact on its animal victims. All primates are profoundly social, complex individuals whose needs can never be met when kept in private homes. The Captive Primate Safety Act would not only bring an end to their suffering but would also remove the significant risk to public health and safety posed by these dangerous wild animals being kept in inappropriate conditions in private homes across the country.”

The new report includes testimony from former law enforcement officer, Tim Harrison, who raises concerns for first responders who are required to respond to calls when pet primates escape. This is despite the fact that there is no training provided to them on how to deal with wild animals on the loose. Harrison says:

“There are no schools, no police academy, fire school, or animal control teaching you how to handle primates. And every cop, every department, has these stories, and the majority of the officers have PTSD after dealing with these incidents. After a particular incident, one of the guys quit the department to teach at a college. He couldn’t be a paramedic anymore because he lost his friend. The other two guys involved just couldn’t work anymore. People don’t realize. When there’s a chimp attack, or a big cat attack, it’s not like a car accident. No matter what you do, it’s not going to save [the victim].”

There are thought to be as many as 15,000 pet primates currently kept in the United States, and legislation differs significantly from one state to another, with some states having no regulation whatsoever and others already having implemented full or partial bans. The time has come, says Born Free USA, to implement a federal solution.

Angela Grimes, Born Free USA’s CEO, said:

“State legislation is inadequate to protect people and animals from this dangerous and cruel trade. As our new report clearly demonstrates, what is needed is an immediate federal solution. There is not a single reason for any private citizen to keep a monkey in a cage in their home. Allowing the ongoing trade in these animals puts the public and first responders at risk and has consequences that go beyond the borders of the United States to influence wildlife trade in other countries. The U.S. is in a strong position to set an example for other countries to follow, and it must do so now.”

Nonhuman primates carry a host of illnesses that could pass to humans, including yellow fever, monkey pox, Ebola and Marburg virus, Herpes simiae (herpes B), simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV, the primate form of HIV), viral hepatitis, and measles. News reports in recent weeks have confirmed that a lab worker in China died from herpes B infection passed to him by a monkey. Herpes B is fatal in up to 80% of untreated cases in human beings.

To read Public Danger, Private Pain, please visit

To learn more about the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, please visit

To take action on the Captive Primate Safety Act, please visit

About Born Free USA
Born Free USA works to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. We oppose the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaign to keep them where they belong—in the wild. Born Free USA’s Primate Sanctuary is the largest in the United States and provides a permanent home to primates rehomed from laboratories or rescued from zoos and private ownership. We’re social:,,,

Heather Ripley
Orange Orchard
(865) 977-1973
[email protected]



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