Special Report:

Appendix A

Primates by the numbers

Appendix AU.S. Laws/Regulations/Treaties Individuals and businesses import and export nonhuman primates for use in laboratory experimentation, entertainment and exhibition (e.g., movies and zoos), and breeding (for zoos or laboratories). Nonhuman primates cannot be imported to sell or use as pets.1 Importers of nonhuman primates must comply with federal and international laws and regulations enforced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). State laws may also apply.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ), which enforces regulations to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the U.S. Therefore, it regulates the importation of animals who have the potential to carry a communicable disease by monitoring the permitting and registration of imports and their quarantine.

The CDC requires that nonhuman primate importers register with the agency,2 and certify that the nonhuman primates will be imported only for use in "bona fide" exhibition, educational, or scientific purposes, not as pets.3 After filovirus outbreaks were detected and resulted in the death of nearly 500 imported cynomologus (crab-eating) macaques from the Philippines in 1989 and 1990 (including the identification of a new Ebola virus strain) new requirements were put into place, including: special permits are required to import African green monkeys and cynomolgus and rhesus macaques; imported primates must be quarantined and monitored for at least 31 days and be screened for tuberculosis; disease control measures must be implemented during transportation and quarantine to protect people from exposure; records must be maintained regarding any cases of illness and death and such cases should be tested for filovirus infection; suspected zoonotic illnesses must be reported to CDC; and records must be maintained regarding the distribution of each shipment.4, 5 Before they are registered and periodically thereafter, importers' facilities are inspected by CDC's DGMQ to review their operating procedures and animal health records.6 CDC must review proposed plans for each shipment of nonhuman primates arriving in the U.S., and it also monitors shipments upon arrival at ports of entry and the quarantine facilities.

In July 2009, the American Anti-Vivisection Society submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to CDC and requested: any documents or records related to registered importers of nonhuman primates and the nonhuman primates who are imported, including: quarantine facility inspection reports; import shipment plans; animal health records; documents certifying that the nonhuman primates are used for science, education, or exhibition (as required by 42 C.F.R. § 71.53(d)2); and reported deaths of and illnesses in imported nonhuman primates or humans working with them. However, CDC has yet failed to deliver any such information.


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) USDA is charged with enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA),7 which includes regulations regarding the handling, treatment, use, and domestic (interstate) and international transport8 of certain animals9 used or intended for use in research, testing, education, experimentation, or exhibition, or for breeding or sale of pets. The AWA describes separate transportation standards for different groups of animals (e.g. dogs and cats, nonhuman primates, guinea pigs and hamsters, rabbits, marine mammals, and all other regulated animals.) Mandatory guidelines for member airlines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an international airline trade organization, do not allow pregnant female nonhuman primates or those with suckling infants to be transported, but the AWA does allow it.10

Regarding nonhuman primates, the AWA includes standards for: consignments to carriers and intermediate handlers, primary enclosures used to transport nonhuman primates (e.g., construction, cleaning, ventilation, compatibility, space requirements, marking and labeling, and accompanying documents, and records), primary conveyances (motor vehicle, rail, air, and marine), food and water requirements, care in transit (surface and air), terminal facilities (e.g., placement, cleaning, ventilation, temperature, shelter, and duration), and handling.11, 12

Some of the AWA standards for transportation of live nonhuman primates in commerce include:
  • Carriers and intermediate handlers cannot accept a nonhuman primate(s) more than four hours before departure, and consignors must include paperwork stating that food and water was offered to the animals no longer than four hours before delivery to the carriers or intermediate handlers.13
  • Each cage/crate can only contain one animal, except: mothers and nursing infants, established male/(non-estrus) female or juvenile pairs, and family groups may be transported together in the same container.14
  • Different species of nonhuman primates may not be transported in adjacent or connecting shipping crates.15
  • During ground and water transportation of nonhuman primates, the interior vehicle temperature must be maintained at 45 F – 85 F.16
  • Food must be offered to nonhuman primates age one year and older every 24 hours, and every 12 hours for those who are less than one year old. Potable water must be offered at least once every 12 hours.17
  • Written instructions for in-transit 24-hour feeding and water requirements must be attached to each animal's crate.18
  • During surface (ground and water) transportation, drivers or their assistants must observe the nonhuman primates as often as possible, at least once every four hours, to assess air quality and ambient temperature.19 The same rules apply to air carriers during air transport, if the cargo area in which the nonhuman primates are kept is accessible. If it is not accessible in flight, the animals must be observed when the cargo area is accessible and when they are being loaded and unloaded.20
  • Nonhuman primates who appear to be injured, ill, or in physical distress may not be commercially transported, unless it is to receive veterinary medical care.21
  • Shipping crates containing nonhuman primates may not be mixed with cargo or placed near any other shipments of live animals (including other species of nonhuman primates) in terminal facility animal holding areas.22
  • Nonhuman primates in terminal facility animal holding areas and during unloading and loading must be protected from sunlight, extreme heat, rain, snow, or other precipitation,13 and the ambient temperature must be maintained at 45 F-85 F. The temperature may not fall above or below this range for greater than four consecutive hours in holding areas24 and for no longer than 45 minutes during loading and unloading or transfer for transport.25


In addition, nonhuman primates who are transported in commerce by an individual or company licensed or registered by the USDA must have a health certificate issued within 10 days prior to their shipment.26 This excluded intrastate transport of nonhuman primates in the licensee's/registrant's private vehicle.27


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Under the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) regulates the importation, exportation, and interstate trade and transportation of live and dead nonhuman primates and their parts and derivatives. It does this through enforcement of The Lacey Act,28 the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Importers or their agents must file a Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife (Form 3–177) with the USFWS upon importing nonhuman primates into the U.S.29 through designated ports.30 Data from Declaration forms are entered and stored in the USFWS's Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS).

Passed in 1900, the Lacey Act is the United States' oldest federal law to protect wildlife, and it prohibits transportation of mammals or birds to the U.S. under inhumane or unhealthful conditions.31, 32 Lacey Act regulations are essentially a combination of IATA, CITES, and AWA live animal transportation guidelines.33 Failing to comply with state, federal, or foreign animal transportation laws is considered to be a violation of the Lacey Act, and therefore, it is considered by the biomedical community to be a powerful law to protect animals.34

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a federal law to help protect foreign and native plant and animal species and their habitats and foster their recovery. Under the ESA, certain species are listed as "threatened" (likely to become endangered without protection) or "endangered" (in danger of extinction). Importation, exportation, and interstate transport of ESA-listed animals require permits, as does their use for scientific purposes and captive-breeding.35 Some, but not all, species of nonhuman primates are listed under the ESA.

The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a treaty intended to protect internationally traded wild animals and plants. CITES is enforced in the U.S. through the ESA. CITES Appendix I includes species who/which are threatened with extinction. Their commercial trade is prohibited, but import/export permits for scientific research may be allowed. CITES Appendix II includes plants which and animals who may become threatened without protection, and export (or re-export) permits must be issued by the exporting country before they can be transported.36 All nonhuman primates are listed on either CITES Appendix I or II.37

Continue Reading» 1. Importations, Nonhuman Primates 42 C.F.R. §71.53(c) (2003).

2. As of October 2011, the CDC reports that 24 facilities are registered and allowed to import/quarantine nonhuman primates.

3. Importations, Nonhuman Primates 42 C.F.R. §71.53(c) (2003).

4. DeMarcus, T.A., Tipple, M.A., and Ostrowski, S.R. (1999.) U.S. policy for disease control among imported nonhuman primates. Journal of Infectious Diseases 179: Supplement 1:S281-2.

5. Importations, Nonhuman Primates 42 C.F.R. §71.53(c) (2003).

6. DeMarcus, T.A., Tipple, M.A., and Ostrowski, S.R. (1999.) U.S. policy for disease control among imported nonhuman primates. Journal of Infectious Diseases 179
: Supplement 1:S281-2.

7. AWA, 7 USC 2131 et seq

8. From Federal Register, Vol 69, No 66, pages 17899–17901: "…Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations and standards for the humane transportation of animals in commerce (apply) to all foreign air carriers operating to or from any point within the United States, its territories, possessions, or the District of Columbia to ensure that any animal covered by the AWA, whether coming into, traveling from point to point in, or leaving the United States, its territories, possessions, or the District of Columbia, will be provided the protection of the AWA regulations and standards."

9. From 9 CFR 1.1: "Animal means any live or dead dog, cat, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or any other warmblooded animal, which is being used, or is intended for use for research, teaching, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet. This term excludes: Birds, rats of the genus Rattus and mice of the genus Mus bred for use in research, and horses not used for research purposes and other farm animals, such as, but not limited to livestock or poultry, used or intended for use as food or fiber, or livestock or poultry used or intended for use for improving animal nutrition, breeding, management, or production efficiency, or for improving the quality of food or fiber. With respect to a dog, the term means all dogs, including those used for hunting, security, or breeding purposes."

10. Depoyster, J. (2002.) Transportation of primates and the Animal Welfare Act. In: Institute for Laboratory Animal Research. International Perspectives: The Future of Nonhuman Primate Resources, Proceedings of the Workshop Held April 17-19, 2002 (pp.183-186) Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

11. AWA, 9 CFR 3.86-3.92 and 9 CFR 2.131

12. Institute for Laboratory Animal Research. (2006.) Guidelines for the humane transportation of research animals. (pp.104-109) Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

13. AWA, 9 CFR 3.86(a) and (c)

14. AWA, 9 CFR 3.87(d)(1)

15. AWA, 9 CFR 3.87(d)(2)

16. AWA, 9 CFR 3.88(e)

17. AWA, 9 CFR 3.89(a)

18. AWA, 9 CFR 3.89(b)

19. AWA, 9 CFR 3.90(a)

20. AWA, 9 CFR 3.90(b)

21. AWA, 9 CFR 3.90(c)

22. AWA, 9 CFR 3.91(a)

23. AWA, 9 CFR 3.91(e)(1)and(2)

24. AWA, 9 CFR 3.91(d)

25. AWA, 9 CFR 3.92

26. 9 CFR 2.78

27. USDA, APHIS Animal Care (April 14, 1997) Policy 18: Health Certificate for Dogs, Cats, and Nonhuman Primates, Animal Care Resource Guide. Retrieved from http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/downloads/policy/policy18.pdf

28. 16 U.S.C. §§ 3371-3378, United States Code Annotated Currentness. Title 16. Conservation. Chapter 53. Control of Illegally Taken Fish and Wildlife.

29. 50 CFR 14.61

30. 50 CFR 14.12

31. 18 USC 42(C)

32. Kreger, M. and Farris, M. (2002.) International transportation of nonhuman primates: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service perspective. In: Institute for Laboratory Animal Research. International Perspectives: The Future of Nonhuman Primate Resources, Proceedings of the Workshop Held April 17-19, 2002 (pp.187-192) Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

33. Fortman, J.D., Hewett, T.A., and Bennett, B.T. (2002.) The laboratory nonhuman primate. New York: CRC Press.

34. Fortman, J.D., Hewett, T.A., and Bennett, B.T. (2002.) The laboratory nonhuman primate. New York: CRC Press.

35. Institute for Laboratory Animal Research. (2006.) Guidelines for the humane transportation of research animals. (p.189) Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

36. http://www.cites.org/eng/app/index.shtml

37. http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.shtml

Ending the Use of Animals in Science