Saturday, January 18, 2014

Service-Monkey Bill Draws Opposition In Kentucky

A bill filed this week to allow primates to be used in Kentucky as service monkeys to aid paralyzed people is drawing opposition and — the sponsor says — jokes.

"Obviously there's a lot of jokes, but this isn't a joke," said a tearful state Sen. John Schickel, a Republican from Union.

Schickel said in an interview Friday that he filed the bill on behalf of a Kentucky family that wants to use a service monkey to assist a girl who was paralyzed from the neck down in an automobile accident. Schickel said he is friends with her father and planned to check with the family to see if they want to go public with their story. "This is a family looking for solutions," he said. "I don't know if this is one or not."

The bill is drawing criticism, however, from the Primate Rescue Center in Nicholasville, which says it is home to more than 50 "unwanted" monkeys and apes, including some that were used in programs like the one Schickel is proposing.

"The intentions of people who are in favor of this are honorable, but misguided," said April Truitt, the center's executive director. "Wild animals aren't suitable as companion animals. Having a wild animal in your home puts both the animal and the owner at risk of getting injured."

Full story here.

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