Kentucky Sen. John Schickel yesterday filed legislation – the effect of which would be to specifically allow monkeys as “service animals” in Kentucky.

Their importation into and possession in Kentucky is currently disallowed under 301KAR2:082.

Our organization, the Primate Rescue Center, is home to over 50 unwanted monkeys and apes, including cast-offs from such “helper” training programs.

Norman is a rescued capuchin living at the PRC. Capuchin monkeys are the primate species most commonly used as “service animals”.

We – along with the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) – oppose the practice of utilizing monkeys as “assistance animals” for any reason.

From the routine practice of “full dental extraction” (employed to prevent injury to the human handler!), the inherent human safety risks, the potential for zoonotic disease transmission, not to mention “sanitary” concerns – there are a host of reasons why this is a really bad idea.

In addition, in 2010, the Federal government narrowed the definition of “service animal” to dogs and horses (only), meaning non-human primates cannot be recognized as service animals under the ADA.

The PRC and our colleagues are shocked that this change is being sought.