Founded in 2003 by Barbara Doherty and Mark McDaniels, UAPPEAL became the first successful multi-species 501(c)4 organization which could lobby to show the responsible side of keeping alternative animals in captivity to our legislatures and contradict the negative and misleading propaganda that is being dispersed.

UAPPEAL has given the non-traditional animal community a voice in Washington. On the state level, UAPPEAL trains its members to become citizen lobbyists including how to write and call their state legislators, set up meetings with their state legislators, and testify at state hearings. We also provide various resources to address legislation, including templates, sample letters, facts and statistics and more.   




UAPPEAL hires Bill Hanka of Hanka Advisor, LLC to help guide us in the federal legislative arena and represent us in Washington. We have worked closely with him over the past few years. His experience working with legislatures and his sound advice have been instrumental in fighting legislation which negatively affects the non-traditional animal industry.

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William Hanka of Hanka Advisor, LLC


UAPPEAL's mission is to protect the right of responsible exotic and alternative animal owners, handlers, businesses, facilities and organizations by lobbying to prevent unfair regulation, discouraging the casual acquisition of exotic animals through education, and furthering animal welfare through the responsible placement of animals in need.

 Captive Primate Safety Act (2008-present)

  • In 2008, Nancy Nighswander, our federal legislation director, along with Bill Hanka met with the leaders of the US House Committee to voice their opposition to the bill, and UAPPEAL sent Primatologist Dr Sian Evans as our witness to give testimony in opposition of the Captive Primate Safety Act before the US House Subcommittee.

  • Successful in getting amendments added, including allowing travel between states to visit a veterinarian or to place a monkey in end of life care following the death of an owner if needed

  • Stopped efforts to pass the bill through without a roll call vote

Other Federal Bills (since 2003)
UAPPEAL has also been monitoring the federal big cat ban that would prohibit using big cats for any purpose and the Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act which would make it easier to add new species to the injurious species list along with several other pieces of legislation.