Keeping Wild and Exotic Pets Threatens Animals and Humans

Federal Legislation

There are currently an estimated 15,000 privately held captive primates in the U.S. Many of these animals are kept in improper living conditions, with neither basic needs met nor the companionship of their own species. These conditions lead to both physical and psychological damage to these wild animals and can pose a hazard to their keepers and to the public.

The Captive Primate Safety Act, HR 1776, would add nonhuman primates to a list of prohibited wildlife species under the federal Lacey Act Amendments, and in doing so would restrict the import, export, sale and purchase in interstate or foreign commerce of these animals. This bill would reduce the number of primates sold as pets via the Internet, private dealers, and auctions, although it would not impact research facilities or zoos.

Contact your U.S. Representative and let them know that you support ending the private ownership of nonhuman primates

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Federal Legislative Update

On April 2, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will be ending painful and deadly experiments on cats. The decision was made just a few weeks after the re-introduction of the Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now (KITTEN) Act, S 708/HR 1622, which would have mandated an end to these experiments.  

According to a press release from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), effective immediately, the “use of cats as part of any research protocol in any laboratory in ARS has been discontinued and will not be reinstated.” An external independent panel charged with reviewing the safety of adopting out cats infected with toxoplasmosis pathogens agreed that cats infected with the parasite should not be placed for adoption. Fourteen cats who had not been infected with the parasite were, however, adopted out to USDA employees.

Congratulations to legislators, advocates and USDA employees who recognized that this research was scientifically and morally repugnant and brought it to an end.

State Update

In Washington, SB 5212, which would require healthy “retired” dogs and cats used for research to be adopted instead of euthanized, already passed the Senate on March 11. On March 28, the bill received approval from the House Committee on College & Workforce Development and is now going to the full House for a vote. If you live in Washington, contact your Representative to let them know you support this bill.

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You can also go to the NAVS Advocacy Center to send a letter, or sign up to get legislative alerts emailed directly to you.


Change is happening—and it’s because of you that we can be so effective.  Please consider making a donation to NAVS today to support the advancement of humane legislation across the U.S. 

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This entry was posted in News on April 4, 2019.
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