Word continues to trickle out about the ill effects of legislation jammed through the 2015 session.

Today, the Humane Society of the United States raises an alarm about Rep. Dan Douglas’ HB 1551, heading to the governor’s desk. It amends a 2013 law that banned private possession of most primates except by zoos. The exemption will open the door to “unprofessional roadside zoos,” the Humane Society says.


Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife protection for The Humane Society of the United States issued the following statement:

“Arkansas must maintain its current law that restricts the possession of primates to professionally-run and fiscally responsible facilities with trained and knowledgeable staff. HB 1551 will be bad for the animals, pose an unnecessary risk to the public and reverse the very progressive stance that Arkansas has demonstrated on this issue. We urge Gov. Hutchinson to veto this bill.”

Currently, only institutions accredited by the credible and respected Association of Zoos and Aquariums and sanctuaries are exempt. HB 1551 essentially renders this law ineffective by adding a group calling itself the Zoological Association of America, a fringe group with weak standards that accredits poorly run roadside zoos, and any other zoo-accrediting organization as exemptions to the law.