Ban Ownership of Pet Chimpanzees

Juvenile Chimpanzee

Target: Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate

Goal: Place nationwide ban on the private ownership of chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees are being kept as pets in the United States when they should be kept in their native habitats. According to the Humane Society, there are currently around 15,000 primates, including chimps, being kept as pets in the United States. Baby chimpanzees are unarguably adorable creatures that bear many fascinating similarities to humans, but they should never be kept as pets. Private ownership of chimps poses many problems to both parties.

Once grown, a chimpanzee can become territorial and violent. Nobody could forget that horrific incident in 2009, when a pet chimp named Travis mauled the friend of his owner, tearing large portions of her face off. Keeping such animals outside of their native habitats poses a clear public health hazard and should not be permitted. Also, since primates are genetically similar to humans, there is a risk of them passing on illnesses to their human owners.

This is to say nothing of the harm that is inflicted on the animals. Chimps are taken out of their natural environment and placed in a house, a totally unfamiliar environment to them. Since this is evolutionarily unprecedented, they can have trouble adjusting to this unnatural environment.

People should not be allowed to keep chimpanzees as pets. Please sign this petition to ask Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to work for more effective legislation that would ban private ownership of chimps.


Dear Mr. McConnell,

I feel that legislation against private ownership of chimpanzees needs to be strengthened. I was surprised to learn that there are around 15,000 primates, including chimpanzees, currently being kept as pets in the U.S. today. People buy these animals because they are endearing and because they exhibit many fascinating similarities to humans. However, they are still wild animals that should be kept in their native habitats. Chimps are adorable when they’re babies, but they grow into territorial beasts that are capable of inflicting terrible injuries on humans.

Many of us still remember that terrible incident in 2009 in which a chimp mauled a woman, inflicting terrible injuries on her face. Primates also pose other health hazards to humans since they can pass on certain diseases. In addition, there is little doubt that taking a chimp out of its native habitat and forcing it to live with humans is unnecessarily stressful to the animal. I would like to ask you to urge Congress to design laws that more effectively prevent people from owning chimps.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: William Warby via Flickr

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  1. There is nothing cute or sweet about having a pet chimp. These beautiful animals are “wild animals” and therefore belong in the wild !!!

  2. Jill Scott says:

    The US needs to ban ownership of not only chimpanzees but all wild animals such as tigers. It’s time to be civilized.

  3. Maureen LoCascio says:

    Chimps are not pets It’s cruel to keep them out of their natural habitat

  4. Catherine Alquier says:

    Animals aren’t toys

  5. Catherine Alquier says:

    Animals aren’t toy’s

  6. Elaine Barretet says:


  7. It’s not enough to love and care about chimps or other animals that we all so adore and are awe-struck by … you MUST be KNOWLEDGEABLE — it’s obligatory to know what it takes to make & keep chimps happy & comfortable for all stages of their lives …

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