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: DailyHerald.com)
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: Quadcities.com) 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)