Captive primate safety act

HR 3135

SPONSOR: Rep. Earl Blumenauer
CO-SPONSORS: 72 (as of 11/27/22)


  • Referred to Natural Resources 5/12/21
  • Referred to the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife 6/19/21
  • Hearing 7/29/21

S 1588

SPONSOR: Sen. Richard Blumenthal

CO-SPONSORS: 13 (as of 11/27/22)HERE

STATUS: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works 5/12/21

Affect of Proposed Legislation:

The 2021 session version of these bills makes several changes.  First, it creates a brand new section in the Lacey Act for what they call prohibited primate species, which are all non-human primates.  Past versions added primates to the prohibited wildlife species list.  In addition to the ban on import, export, transport and sale, receipt, acquisition, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce of these primates, the 2021 version also bans possession of primates, whereas past versions did not.  The ban on public contact now specifically excludes lemurs and galagos. 

The Captive Primate Safety Act will adversely impact animal welfare, species survival, and will lead to unintended experiential and fiscal consequences that will negatively affect the operations of federally regulated businesses working with impacted species.

This bill would create hardships for the existing owners of all animals listed as prohibited wildlife species in the Lacey Act.  This bill does not allow for interstate travel to transport the prohibited primate species to a legally designated caregiver in the event of the death or illness of the owner or in the case of an emergency such as an evacuation due to a tornado or hurricane. Owners would not be able to visit family members in another state and take their animals with them.

This bill would also restrict “public contact” with all prohibited primates species and there is no clear definition of what they consider “public” which would interfere with the existing regulatory authority granted to USDA-APHIS.  It would increase costs and decreased revenue due to changes in personnel practices, business operations, and program offerings.

Summary of Proposed Legislation:

SPECIES AFFECTED: Prohibited Primate Species = all nonhuman primates


CLASSIFICATION: Ban – import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce and possession and public contact

DETAILS: Bans import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce and prohibits possession and public contact with prohibited primate species


  1. USDA Class C or other federal facility registered with the USDA that exhibits animals if in good standing that:
    • Does NOT allow direct physical contact with an individual unless trained professional employee or contractor of the entity or facility or employee in training, a veterinarian or directly supporting conservation programs if the contact is not commercial activity AND “incidental to humane husbandry conducted pursuant to a species-specific, publicly available, peer-edited population management and care plan” that reflects conservation science principles, “incorporates genetic and demographic analysis of a multi-institution population of animals covered by the plan”, and promotes animal welfare ensuring frequency of breeding is appropriate
    • Ensures public exhibition of prohibited primate species other than lemurs and Galagos is 15’ from public except permanent barrier;
  2. Registered research facility
  3. State college, university, or agency, or state-licensed veterinarian;
  4. Wildlife that cares for prohibited wildlife species and is:
    • 501(c)(3)
    • Does NOT commercially trade in prohibited primate species or their offspring, parts or byproducts
    • Does NOT Breed prohibited primate species
    • Does NOT allow public contact with prohibited primate species
    • Does NOT allow transport and display of prohibited primate species offsite
  5. Someone who solely expeditiously transports a prohibited primate species to an exempted entity

GRANDFATHERING: Current owners must register with the USFWS within 180 days of the effective date, must NOT breed, acquire or sell prohibited primate species, and must not allow direct public contact

ENFORCING AGENCY: US Fish and Wildlife Service


PENALTIES: Same as regular penalties

EFFECTIVE DATE: Date rules are adopted

UAPPEAL Background on CPSA

UAPPEAL has been opposing the Captive Primate Safety Act for the past 10 years.  By working with our federal lobbyist, we have been very successful at stopping this bill from becoming law.  The newer versions of the bill have made many changes from past versions of the bill that will have an impact on a much wider base of exotic animal owners, both private and federally licensed. Because of the complex network of federal, state, and local laws and regulations that already govern the ownership of most wildlife species, even what appear on the surface to be minor changes to existing laws can have a catastrophic cascade of unintended consequences.

2011-2012 Session

In March 2012, UAPPEAL contacted US Senators and set up meetings to discuss our concerns on the bill.

2013-2014 Session

In September 2014, UAPPEAL went to Washington, D.C. to meet with the sponsor and important staff members related to the big cat bill and other important bills.During the meetings, one of the major concerns was the public contact ban with the KS tiger incident being brought up.We clarified that the whole incident was already in violation of current federal law.

2015-2016 Session

During our September 15, 2015 trip to DC, we had several successful meetings with the staff of key legislators about the CPSA and explained our opposition to the bill.  We made new contacts and created allies to help us in our future work on this bill and all other bills such as the Big Cat and Public Safety Protection Act.  The bill was not introduced during the 2017-2018 session.

2017-2018 Session

Bill was not introduced.