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

No more monkey business

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/23/art.getty.chimpanzee.jpg caption="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. R in Maine

    Then where would they find young republicans.

    February 23, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. w.l. jones

    I would like to see a Chimp with kinky hair a protruding lips. Said enough.

    February 23, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. dennisk

    Since people are not smart enough to figure this out on their own, I guess we need more unnecessary laws. I would propose requiring a zoo permit (a very EXPENSIVE zoo permit) to any individual who wants to have a pet larger than a certain weight, or more than a certain number of pets (actual numbers are debatable).
    Now I'll just sit back and wait for the comments "Hey, the government can't tell me that I can't keep a rhinoceros behind my trailer!" thereby proving my point.

    February 23, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. John. Austin, TX

    primates are too dangerous to be kept in a house?!?!

    people are primates!!

    do i have to kick out my wife??

    February 23, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Iguana Victim

    Kevin In Ohio – I'm not too far from Ohio. Wanna go to fantasy land together? You do seem to frequent the place, I'd I'd rather have an experienced guide.

    Remember, just cause you vote for her does not mean you'll get a chance at her.

    February 23, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. gg

    Why not alligators, tigers, pythons, etc as well..

    February 23, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. alvino

    Until they shaved him, Rush Limbaugh was a 450 pound gorilla.

    February 23, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Reality Check

    Isnt' all this MONKEY talk racist?

    I cannot believe the politicians are so quick to take action on a monkey and yet will allow the CITIZENS of this country to go without food, medical care, and a proper education!

    Totally amazing.....

    Outlaw PIT BULLS, there are more people harmed by them each year!

    February 23, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. Dumas McGee

    CNN! I demand you apologize for your racist headline "no more monkey business"

    HOW DARE YOU insult the president

    February 23, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Raymond

    Lisa B writes, "But I think he looks a bit more like Dubya, don't ya think…wink, wink!"

    Ok Lisa (and you Obama-bots) HOW many of you will be crying RACISM when Obama is compared to an ape?

    February 23, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. C Squared

    Guns don't kill people, apes with guns kill people

    February 23, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Dieter Zerressen, Denver, CO

    It's amazing, no matter what the topic those right wing nut jobs get around to poor Palin, racism, and whining about the last election. Yes, keeping wild animals as pets is a problem; always has been a problem. A woman here in Colorado had her arm completely ripped off by a bengal tiger at a "private" reserve. What's a bengal tiger doing in the US in private hands? These people are stupid but they also put other's lives in jeopardy no to mention the possibility of spreading some exotic disease.

    February 23, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. Concerned Pet Owner

    I'm going to go out and buy an elephant before someone decides they are dangerous to people and won't let me get one for my 2 bedroom apartment. No government is going to tell me what to do...no sir-ee!

    In all seriousness, keeping a chimp is just dumb. You've got to expect it will kill someone at some point. However, we don't need yet another law. Shouldn't the threat of civil actions be more than enough of a deterent.

    February 23, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. lovable liberal

    The most dangerous and violent primates are humans. Fortunately, only a few weirdos want to ban us!

    I'm really not sure a problem of this tiny magnitude deserves a legislative response.

    February 23, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Ann

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

    Especially when the morale is 'no monkey in the house.'

    February 23, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. Barbara

    Humans evolved from apes??????? What a lark. They are evolving to act like us, obviously.

    February 23, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. Nate

    a) Shouldn't states regulate this?

    b) Does Congress seriously have nothing better to do? In case they haven't looked up recently this country has a couple issues that need dealing with.

    February 23, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. Dave in Arizona

    Just as Republicans tout no government interference in business even if it leads to a global financial meltdown, we should be allowed free reign in the pets we keep no matter how many lose their lives to them. To restrict free access to poisonous snakes, tigers, and great apes as pets is socialism.

    February 23, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. Jake

    Why does our government have to protect the stupid from themselves?

    February 23, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. ZANE

    Whose more dangerous?.....the ape or a Republican?

    February 23, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. sick n tired of CNN moderators

    Whatever happened to just cats and dogs as pets? Not every animal is pet worthy! Stupid people trying to be cool by having these animals as pets is the problem! I had a friend once who thought it would be "cool" to get a boa constrictor until it grew to be 8ft. long and got out while he was at work one day and he came home to discover the cat had been its lunch! No joke!

    February 23, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. my

    wild animals belong to the wilderness. They are not domesticated, and their nature calling is strong. They do not belong to the "prison" of house, apartment, cage, even zoo. They need to be in their habitat.
    The poor woman suffered terribly. Anyone could get attacked by this chimpanzee, children, other people.
    It is good that something is being done to prohibit keeping these animals as pets.

    February 23, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    Is that a picture of Boehner? Better check where he got whatever it is he's eating to make sure it's not a bribe....

    February 23, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    @ Concerned Pet Owner, who asked "Shouldn't the threat of civil actions be more than enough of a deterent."

    As an attorney I can tell you with 100% absolute certainty that we are in business precisely because NO, NO, NO the threat of civil actions is not enough. If it was, don't you think the courts' case loads would be shrinking, not growing? Just like chimps, people will try to get away with whatever they think they can get away with. Just look at the GOP's behavior.

    February 23, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. That Other Jerry

    I doubt if the person who was mauled thinks all of the stupid comments about Bush, Sarah Palin, etc, are funny or relevant at the moment. I usually don't favor running around banning this or that as a knee-jerk reaction to things that happen, but in this case it's justified. All of those cuddly chimps you see on Beverly Hillbillies reruns were babies. Grown chimps are dangerous, period. Grown chimps and humans do not mix, no matter how they were raised or how smart they are or anything else. Owning one of these animals places innocent bystanders in danger. It's no different than driving while intoxicated, or any other activity that endangers others. Wild animals belong in the wild, or in the care of trained professionals. If it takes a law to make people act responsibly, then so be it.

    February 23, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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