Chimp Was Not at Fault in Attack—Wild Animals Should Be Left in the Wild

Leave wild animals where they belong—in the wild.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

By now, most of us have heard the horrifying story of a chimpanzee shot by Connecticut police last week after the chimp attacked a friend of its owner. The owner called 911 and stabbed the chimp herself (whom she claims to have raised almost as her child) because the chimp went into a violent fit and, she thought, was trying to kill her friend.

The chimp was not at fault here. The owner was. She and thousands of other Americans who insist (for who knows what reason) on owning wild animals have no one to blame but themselves when wild animals, which cannot ever be truly domesticated, act out. It is to be expected, and therefore, it should be against the law. Even well-meaning owners should be fined and sent to jail.

Congress has a better idea: If we outlaw trade in wild animals, they will be harder to obtain. If demand for chimpanzees were depressed, poaching would drop as well, and there would be more chimpanzees where they belong, in the wild.

WASHINGTON — In the wake of an attack on a Connecticut woman by a chimpanzee, U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and David Vitter (R-La.) plan to re-introduce the Captive Primate Safety Act. The bill seeks to protect public safety and promote animal welfare by prohibiting interstate commerce of primates for the pet trade.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said, "The Boxer-Vitter Captive Primate Safety Act would prohibit the transportation of primates across state lines for the pet trade. Passage of this bill is long overdue."

"The Captive Primate Safety Act is needed to complement the federal health regulations that prohibit importing primates into the United States for the pet trade and the rules that about 20 states—including Louisiana—have enacted to prohibit keeping primates as pets," said Sen. Vitter.

"Given the patchwork of state and local laws, and the interstate nature of the primate pet trade, Congress needs to pass legislation to stem the tide of dangerous primates being sold in our communities," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The HSUS."

Not only is selling them as pets a terrible idea, but transporting them (illegally in most cases) from overseas ends in many more deaths of chimps and other wild animals than it does in live deliveries. Let's end the misery now.

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