Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Ban the sale or purchase of wild primates to prevent acts of aggression against pet owners
First introduced in 2007, the “Captive Primate Safety Act” seeks to outlaw the commercial trade of nonhuman primates. Sadly, many serious attacks and injuries have stemmed from privately owned feral pets. The Captive Primate Safety Act would effectively label nonhuman primates a “prohibited wildlife species,” making their ownership illegal among common U.S. citizens. July 2014 saw a noteworthy victory after the bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; the next step of the approval process will involve a vote among the entire Senate.
Though some wild animals can and have been domesticated, many species possess certain traits that make domestication nearly impossible. According to UCLA professor Jared Diamond, the best candidates will have no problems mating or living in enclosed areas and are naturally calm (among many other criteria). Given that primates such as chimpanzees demand ample living space and regularly display aggressive behavior, it becomes quite clear that primates were never intended to be human pets.
One key speaker at the Senate hearing was Charla Nash, a Connecticut woman who was violently accosted by a pet chimpanzee in 2009. The attack was so brutal that it left Nash blind and in need of complete facial reconstructive surgery. Tragically, the hysterical chimpanzee had to be violently executed in order to be stopped.
Though seemingly random, the root of this attack lies in the inherent nature of primates. PETA states, “Once chimpanzees reach adolescence, they become too strong and aggressive for their guardians to handle.” As it stands, the chimpanzee that attacked Charla Nash was already 15 years old and still living as a pet.
Sign the following petition and encourage President Barack Obama to advocate for the Captive Primate Safety Act. No more lives, human or primate, need be ruined for the sake of pet ownership.
Dear President Obama,
The Captive Primate Safety Act recently passed the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. This legislation seeks to classify nonhuman primates as a “prohibited wildlife species,” limiting their ownership to laboratories, zoos, and severely disabled persons. Given the hundreds of injuries sustained via pet primate ownership, I believe this bill merits your support.
Though it is ultimately Congress’ duty to pass this legislation, I believe your opinion on this matter would help sway votes in favor of this humane proposal. According to wildlife experts, primates such as chimpanzees are naturally roaming and aggressive creatures, making domestication practically impossible once the animals reach adolescence. In fact, a terrible 2009 mauling greatly exemplifies the potential danger. Charla Walsh, a Connecticut woman who was severely disfigured by a chimpanzee attack, recently spoke at the Senate hearing to lend her immutable voice on the matter. Her tragedy has helped raise awareness of this extremely pressing issue.
Please voice your support of the Captive Primate Safety Act. The next stage of approval involves the entire Senate, and knowing that such legislation is supported by the head of the United States will undoubtedly give the bill a fighting chance.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tiia Monto via Wikimedia Commons