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Effects of Travis the chimp's attack
Washington wastes no time deciding primates aren't good pets

“The recent chimpanzee attack in Stamford, Conn., was a tragedy for the woman who was horribly mauled,” said The New York Times in an editorial. “It was also a reminder that primates should not keep other primates as pets.” Fortunately, the woman’s injuries and the chimp’s death spurred the House on Tuesday to promptly pass the Captive Primate Safety Act, banning the interstate transport of primates as pets.

Travis the chimpanzee “lived with a widow, eating lobster and ice cream at the table, wearing human clothes, and entertaining himself with a computer and television,” said primatologist Jane Goodall in the Los Angeles Times. “But as the tragedy made clear, a chimpanzee can never be totally domesticated.”

A lot more people get that now than did eight days ago, when 200-pound Travis the chimp attacked, said Al Kamen in The Washington Post. But fast action in the House doesn’t mean this law is a sure thing. The same legislation got derailed in the Senate last year “as part of a protest against measures considered unworthy of the Senate’s attention in a time of crisis,” and it may face opposition again.

The Senate might see things differently after all the hoopla, said Scott Maniquet in Canada’s National Post. As the House showed, dithering over the stimulus is one thing, but, with all the publicity Travis the chimp has generated, politicians “can be counted on to be decisive when circumstances require.”

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