Captive Primate Safety Act SB 1498 –
it is two threats in one!

By Lynn Culver, June 2007

The 2007 Captive Primate Safety Act (S 1498 IS) is more then last year’s bill. It is a new piece of legislation that combines the language of last year’s Technical Amendment to the original (big cat) Captive Wildlife Safety Act to fix the mess the original Captive Wildlife Safety Act created, and it adds primates to the definition of ‘prohibited wildlife species’.

Legislative history

In the early 1900's, Congress passed the Lacey Act  to support states in protecting their game animals and birds by prohibiting the interstate shipment of wildlife killed in violation of state or territorial laws. The Lacey Act makes trafficking in illegally acquired wildlife a Federal crime.

In 2004 the Animal Rights community used the Lacey Act to further their agenda by crafting an amendment and calling it the Captive Wildlife Safety Act and finding legislators to introduce their bill. Disregarding the paragraph above which clearly describes the purpose and intent of the Lacey Act to federalize the interstate transport of illegally taken wildlife, the CWSA added prohibitions that criminalizes the interstate transport of legally owned wildlife.

The US Department of Interior testified against the bill in 2004, stating it would do little to further their main mission of protecting wildlife and habitat. It didn’t matter; Congress passed it and President George W. Bush signed it into law. The F & W had 180 days to write regulations.

Problems writing regulations for illegal legislation

F & W Service immediately ran into problems with regulations since the language of the CWSA was inserted into the felony prohibition section of the Lacey Act, in complete disregard for the legal statute on felonies that requires a two-step process.

Each trafficking violation requires proof of two separate steps involving wildlife at issue. First, the wildlife must be taken, possessed, transported or sold by someone in violation of existing laws or treaties. Second, the wildlife must then be subsequently imported, exported, transported, sold, received, acquired or purchased. These two steps cannot be collapsed into one step or act committed by the defendant. As presently written, the two-step process for violations of the CWSA does not exist and therefore cannot be prosecuted. The Service and the Department of Justice recommended the Technical Amendment to move the CWSA provisions to another part of the Lacey Act to allow the CWSA to be fully enforceable.

If SB 1498 passes, violations of the CWSA will be in the misdemeanor section, not the felony section of the Act. It will hardly be worth anyone’s time to investigate, charge and prosecute. It is however, a dangerous abuse of our federal system and the Lacey Act by the animal rights community and it further empowers them with our elected officials. Congress has given them too much of their time, and spent way too much of our tax dollars on this matter.

SB 1498 includes a prohibition to transport any species of primate as well as the seven large cat species of the original Act, and unlike the big cats, I am quite sure this new legislation will affect many times more pet owners then the original CWSA.

There is no escaping ban bills if SB 1498 Passes!

We already know from the draft regulations proposed by the F & W Service last February that they have interpreted the CWSA to mean anyone who tries to move from one state to another with a household pet that is a listed “prohibited wildlife species” is now violating the Lacey Act. The comments below are a direct quote from the F & W proposed regulations published in the Federal Register last February:

  "It is also important to note that the transport prohibition contained in the CWSA applies to any transportation of the prohibited wildlife species in interstate or foreign commerce, not only to transportation that involves commercial activity. This means that any person who owns a live specimen of a prohibited wildlife species and who wants to transport the animal in interstate or foreign commerce as a pet, or even as part of a household move, would not be allowed to do so under the prohibitions contained in the CWSA."

As more and more states and counties and cities pass ordinances and laws affecting pet owners, people are calling their realtors and putting up ‘For Sale’ signs and moving somewhere else to find refuge that will allow them to live in peace with their pets.

Not that there really are a lot of pet tigers but I am sure there are plenty of pet primates. And the new species listing covers a 2-pound marmoset to a 100-pound chimpanzee. If it passes, maybe next year the AR will ask Congress to “protect” some servals too. Where does it end?

Just like last year, we face another round of Haley’s Act, and now another attempt to amend the Lacey Act. Neither bill should pass. It’s a bad law pushed by an animal rights agenda and a waste of our tax dollars. We have to write Congress. We have to call Congress. We have to put our foot down. And I am asking you to please open your wallet as well to make sure this does not pass.

The U.A.P.P.E.A.L. lobbyist team, as well as the FCF, REXANO, and many other wildlife organizations are contacting and writing the Agricultural Committee about this new bill. I wish for every exotic animal owner and supporter to consider joining U.A.P.P.E.A.L., a 501 c 4 non-profit, tax exempt organization fighting to preserve the rights of responsible exotic animal owners.  Membership fees and donations are directed towards fighting the Haley Act and the Captive Primate Safety Act.

Lynn Culver is the president of the Feline Conservation Federation (FCF). She and her husband Bart are owner/operators of Natural Order Animal Husbandry Feline Conservation Center. Lynn has over two decades of experience in the husbandry of cougars, and currently breeds smaller species of cats and houses one of the largest colonies of Geoffrey's cat in the US. Lynn has served in the Feline Conservation Federation as Legislation Director, giving FCF input on state and federal laws and USDA regulations pertaining to exotic felines.

Copyright 2007 © Lynn Culver & REXANO

Photo Copyright © Debra Hoskey & REXANO, All Rights Reserved, not to be reproduced