February 23rd, 2009
01:48 PM ET
5 years ago

No more monkey business

A week after a woman was brutally attacked by a friend’s chimpanzee, a House committee moved to prohibit humans from keeping primates as pets.
A week after a woman was brutally attacked by a friend’s chimpanzee, a House committee moved to prohibit humans from keeping primates as pets.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A week after a woman was brutally attacked by a friend’s chimpanzee, a House committee moved to prohibit humans from keeping primates as pets.

Rep. Nick Rahall, chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, requested action Monday on legislation to prohibit people from buying or transporting primates across state lines as pets. The West Virginia Democrat warned that primates are too dangerous to be kept as pets.

“Images of Curious George and Koko may lead us to believe that these creatures are cuddly and harmless, but last week’s tragedy and other similar attacks stand as evidence that this is not the case, that they are in fact wild animals, and they simply must not be kept as pets,” Rahall said in a statement.

The Captive Primate Safety act would modify the Lacy Act amendments, which were passed in 1981 and only included a ban on buying or transporting fish and wildlife across state lines to keep as pets, by adding primates to that list. The legislation is expected to go to the House floor for debate this afternoon.

Roughly a dozen Americans were attacked by primates in 2008, according to the Humane Society.

soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    There is nothing to debate. You shouldn't have a 200 lb monkey in your house. Case closed.

    February 23, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. J

    THIS IS A GOOD THING..IF YOU WANT TO SEE A CHIMP GO TO THE ZOO WHERE THEY'RE IN CAGES, OR RUNNING WILD IN SOME KIND OF NATURAL HABITAT..HONESTLY THEY'RE NOT EVEN CUTE..

    February 23, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Reggie

    Uh Oh, CNN
    Dint you learn anything last week. You can't put that picture with this story...Its RACIST!

    February 23, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. Shirley in California

    Let the racist/ignorant remarks begin on such a sensitive subject. Someone was hurt-nearly killed and you self righteous, ignorant, hypocrites try to equate President Obama to this. Mr. Sharpton was totally wrong to take attack on this issue. Was it racist? Of course it was but I in no way see our president or any person as a primate and to protest that the image was of President Obama only suggests there is a correlation there. I think Mr. Sharpton should have thought this out more carefully.

    February 23, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Sharon Kitchen

    You also may wish to check on those with primates at the cdc.
    A staff person was bit and later died there.
    That paticular primate had been infected with the hiv virus on purpose.
    Location was Georgia.......................

    February 23, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Baze

    This is stupid. A mandate is already in place that says people need permits to own wild animals. Either make it more strict, or revoke it altogether and make it illegal to own wild animals within state ordained regions of civility.

    February 23, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. AndyL

    Danm, no more Democrats as pets!

    February 23, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Shawn-Tx

    This is kinda ridiculous. Let's compare the number of ppl killed by pit bulls, german shepherds, pinchers, and all the other huge dogs every year to the number of ppl killed by monkeys. I think it's hypocritical to say ppl can't keep monkeys and allow ppl to keep pit bulls.

    February 23, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. simon

    No More Monkey Cartoons.

    February 23, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Shari, NY

    People need to understand that such animals are meant to be in the wild no matter how you try to tame them. If you take them out of this habitat, then put them in a zoo or circus! Cohabitation with a chimp is flat out flaky.

    February 23, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. Jon Davis

    No person should be allowed to own a chimp individually. Chimps belong in the wild...with other chimps. If the chimps is already here and not suitable for re-patriation to his or her own country, the chimp should be placed in a chimp shelter with other chimps to live out his/her life.

    This isn't about treating chimps like people or giving chimps rights, any chimp, even the brightest one, is a very muscular individual with large canine teeth, limited human-type intelligence and the emotional control of about five-year-year child.

    Any chimp kept by a human in his/her house is a disaster waiting to happen...for the chimp and for the people around him/her.

    February 23, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Jon Davis

    No person should be allowed to own a chimp individually. Chimps belong in the wild...with other chimps. If the chimps is already here and not suitable for re-patriation to his or her own country, the chimp should be placed in a chimp shelter with other chimps to live out his/her life.

    This isn't about treating chimps like people or giving chimps rights, any chimp, even the brightest one, is a very muscular individual with large canine teeth, limited human-type intelligence and the emotional control of about five-year-year child.

    Any chimp kept by a human in his/her house is a disaster waiting to happen...for the chimp and for the people around him/her.

    February 23, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Jon

    Rep. Nick Rahall = person with way to much free time.

    February 23, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. Dewey Cox

    You can take the children, but you leave me my monkey!

    February 23, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    One would have thought this is a no-brainer...sort of like bathing daily (without the toaster), not drinking turpetine, not doing certain things near where you eat, using facts and evidence to inform public policy decisions, and putting aside petty sour-grapes political gamesmanship for the good of the country.

    February 23, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Sarge

    My god what will be outlawed next Black Widow spiders? Nation of Laws my Arse. Communist is more like it. If this stupid woman couldn't handle the chimp she should have never owned it. Bit Bulls kill more people in this country and I don't see any laws protecting people against them...Get a life America.

    February 23, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Mike H.

    Why not take action against pit bulls? They kill and injure people on a daily basis.

    February 23, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Love, Peace and Happiness

    Very smart. We are getting to a point where we can respect the fellow beings that inhabit the planet with us. They are not here for our "entertainment." Animals belong with there own social networks whatever they may be. Next step should be closing down zoos. If you want to study animals, the internet has some great databases. Onward!

    February 23, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. RB

    If you count humans as primates, the actual number of reported violent attacks on humans is closer to 1,407,377 (2007 numbers)

    February 23, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. Jim

    Hey, knucklehead! I don't know what newspaper you're reading (assuming you actually read one), but hordes of chimpanzee pet owners loosing their charges on an unwitting populace is the least of our problems.

    Our banking system is in meltdown!

    Unemployment may soon reach double digits!

    Foreclosure rates are through the roof!

    Pick a problem, any problem. And do something about that. I'll worry about Bonzo gone wild my own self.

    February 23, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. Greg, NY

    And how many people are mauled by dogs every year? Would they really stop us from owning a dog? Doubtful.

    February 23, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. Rick

    While I agree with the premise of this act, this is a subject that should be left to the states to handle.

    February 23, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. William A. Schaedler from St. Louis

    One monkey trying te restrict other monkeys. These guys really have a lot of important tasks to fulfill. Our beloved Congress at work.

    February 23, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. Al

    Is this really the right legislation to be introducing in these economic times?

    February 23, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    It is a fact that when monkeys reach adulthood they will go wild. Of course they are cute when young, but will revert to a wild state when they mature. Sometimes the results can be horrifying as seen when the owner of a chimp who almost killed her. He weighed almost 200 pounds, and sadly had to be shot to stop him from harming others.

    I know that some will think that keeping a monkey should be a private matter, but if the monkey escapes, a lot of damage is on the way.

    Remember thay these are wild animals, cute when young, but can be dangerous without warning.

    February 23, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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