Call for a Nationwide Ban on Keeping Monkeys as Pets

Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture 

Goal: Implement a state-wide and nation-wide ban outlawing pet monkey ownership

Despite all the media attention surrounding Justin Bieber’s pet monkey ownership, many states still condone owning pet monkeys. Many people purchase baby monkeys, thinking they’ll serve as suitable surrogates for human children. However, tragic consequences can result when the baby monkeys reach maturity. We must outlaw pet monkey ownership in all fifty states for the safety of both monkeys and humans.

The media traditionally portrays monkeys as cute and cuddly, leaving naive pet buyers with inaccurate first impressions. These buyers are misguided at best, since monkeys quickly mature and become independent and even dangerous. According to primate advocacy sources, seventeen U.S. states have no requirements that prohibit the private possession of nonhuman primates. The states with no requirements are as follows: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Sign the below petition to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which controls national pet law standards, to implement a federal ban outlawing pet monkey ownership. Such a ban would prevent dangerous monkey attacks that result from confinement by humans, and allow monkeys to thrive in their natural habitats. Primates belong in the wild and humans should not rob them of their safety or freedom.


Dear Secretary Vilsack,

Pet monkeys have been making news headlines recently, but many people still keep monkeys in their homes in the United States. Although many states have banned private primate ownership, seventeen states still allow residents to keep monkeys as pets.

Many monkey bites are recorded by owners each year and many more go unreported. Children are most vulnerable to primate attacks because monkeys and apes are naturally territorial and establish dominance hierarchies. Exotic animals need plenty of space to roam around, constant physical and psychological enrichment, and specialized nutritional needs. The primate trade is big business overseas, and often results in unhealthy and depressed animals being used for consumerism and unjust profit. 

I am urging you to work with these seventeen states to implement laws that prohibit primate ownership. I also encourage you to implement a federal ban on primate ownership so that the penalties for noncompliance are even more stringent. Thank you for doing your part to keep wildlife in the wild and United States citizens safe. 


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Vinoth Chandar via Flickr


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