A Kentucky senator has filed a controversial bill this week to allow primates to be used as service animals.
State senator John Schickel, a Republican representing Boone, Ky., told reporters he’s been ridiculed for the bill, but says the issue is no laughing matter.
“Obviously there’s a lot of jokes, but this isn’t a joke,” said a tearful Schickel told the Louisville Courier-Journal.
According to the paper, Schickel introduced the bill after befriending the family of a girl paralyzed from the neck down. The family wants a service monkey to assist with the care of the girl, according to Schickel.
However, the bill has come under fire from at least one primate sanctuary.
April Truitt, the founder and executive director for the Primate Rescue Center in Nicholasville, Ky., said they were “not enthusiastic about it at all.”
Truitt says monkeys should not be service animals, since they are not domesticated as dogs are.
“It’s a cruel and misguided program,” Truitt told ABCNews.com. “They’re not domesticated animals and they can’t be made so in one generation or twenty.”
Truditt points out that the monkeys have to have all their teeth removed before being used in a home, and that they can turn on their owners violently.
“These animals do not belong in human homes,” said Truitt.