Pet Chimps and Monkeys Banned in Illinois

Effective at the beginning of 2011, a ban has been placed in Illinois on owning chimps, monkeys, gorillas and orangutans. Primate owners there who purchased before the law went into effect can keep their pets, but no new ones can be purchased legally. Monkeys used for therapy or helping disabled people are exempt from the new law. “As cute and cuddly as monkeys can be people should not have them as pets,” said state Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park. (Source:

What the legislator was referring to are attacks made by monkeys on their owners. It doesn’t happen often, but the damage can be severe. Also monkeys can spread diseases such as herpes B, salmonella, tuberculosis, and monkey pox. (Source: Twenty other states also have such a ban in place.

Some people say that pet monkeys help with health issues. For example, a woman who suffers from an anxiety problem says with a small monkey around her constantly, her blood pressure is lower, and she has fewer panic attacks. The monkey recognizes them starting before she does. (Source: New York Times)

Capuchin monkeys are often used with quadriplegics to help them get a beverage, or any other item they can’t reach for themselves. The first capuchin helper monkey was trained and place with a paralyzed person in 1979. Monkey Helpers still trains monkeys to help people with health problems that require assistance. You can watch a video about their Monkey College.

Even service monkeys, however, can and do bite their owners once in a while. In March a man was bitten by his monkey after he accidentally stepped on its tail. Perhaps the most well known primate incident in the last several years was the attack on a woman by an adult chimp that disfigured her face and nearly killed her.

Image Credit: David M. Jensen (Storkk)

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Alan Lambert
Alan Lambert4 years ago

Excellent choice by Illinois, maybe for the wrong reasons, but excellent choice.

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M5 years ago

Thanks for this post Jake. I would like to see a world wide ban on all exotic animals being kept as pets!

Marcia Shiel
M s5 years ago

Amy D while your intentions may be good,most people who keep these animals are neglectful and cruel There are a few decent people around but not many Wild animals should be left alone in habitat man leaves untouched They do NOT belong in our homes or backyards Most zoos should be shut down Maybe 1/2% are decent and provide room and positive enrichment for animals Unfortunately man is selfish and greedy, exploiting animals for money

Amy Doyle
Amy Doyle5 years ago

well to all of those who think its such a crime to own an exotic animal as a pet-tell me the last time you visited a zoo and seen happy fulfilled animals? another thing-swing from the trees? where those animals originate they are in most cases considered a nuisance and killed!! if a person being a private owner can provide a loving home w/all the needs of the animal met-what business is it of yours? soon you will find,the only reason a good many animals are not ALREADY EXTINCT is due to the fact that the people who are good responsible animal owners are the ones that dont need breeding programs like zoos that are utter FAILURES,happy animals mate only when they are in a happy comfortable living environment!! who died and made you god? these animals were put on this earth for us to love and respect-thanks to the human race-respects done gone out the window-we can at least provide them w/a happy long life!!

Jim N.
Jim N.6 years ago

I cant stand uneducated people " see below comments" that do not understand or have ever had the experience with these animals. They think that just because a few mishaps have happened means that all should be banned. Thats like saying if Lynn C. or Isabel Ramirez decided to crap their pants, then everyone else in the world would have to wear diapers. Go ahead hop on the wagon with everyone else because the experience you have had with "pets" is your 8 yr old Shih Tzu you have because its the best pet that any stuck up middle aged wanna be wealthy woman would love to have. Too bad that walking mop carries just as many diseases, and they have vaccines for those yes. As they do for monkeys! Salmonella- undercooked chicken banned! Herpes-(1 in 4 of the morons on this topic have it)-Banned! Monkey Pox???? almost exact same strains as all other Pox's that they already have a vaccines for. I hope to God that the people in here do realize that the dog or cat that runs around in your house all day pooping in a box thats parked right outside of your kitchen/bedroom also at one time lived in the wild. Way to fail at your own conformist "beliefs". Grow up!

carlee trent
carlee trent6 years ago

thanks b 2 god

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago

They should stay in the wild.

Troy W.
Troy W.6 years ago

if one wild animal be band all shall be baned including dogs cas mice rodents, and any others. i was wantin to get a monkey so that i could have a companion since my brother has asthma and i cant get a dog or a cat but know i can get neither. to bad it happpens. all i got to say is " frrrreeeeeeeeeeeedooooooooooom" thank u

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G6 years ago


Walter G.
Walter G6 years ago

Tread very carefully here, occasionally it becomes difficult to separate man from monkey. Take one look at that mass photograph of the members of congress on the steps taken recently. it is probably the only time you'll see many of them all together at once. How to tell a member of congress from a monkey? First, check the bank accounts. The monkey's bank account will be higher, because the Congress member is hiding most of his/her balance off shore. Second, check the use of Air force aircraft, the monkey will probably not use them. Third, check the identity of the person holding the other end of the leash. The monkey may have anyone holding its leash, the politician will have a drug, alien, or arms smuggler, or a foreign corporation's representative holding the leash. Fourth, the monkey will not be in the process of being prosecuted for fraud, embezzlement, conspiracy, or impersonating a monkey. Last, give a monkey and a member of Congress a dollar and ask each of them to buy a coke out of a vending machine. The monkey will insert the dollar in the machine and bring you a canned drink, the member of congress will get on a cell phone ot call his or her pusher.