Animal Charity

Primates as pets 

Estimates says that there are 5000 primates being kept as pets across the UK. Despite them being intelligent, social, long-lived animals, many are kept alone in small bird cages in their owners’ living room, often suffering with physiological and psychological issues due to poor living conditions. We have been calling on the Government to ban primates as pets for over five years. 

The Government’s plan

In December 2023, the Government introduced new secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which will bring in a licensing scheme setting out rules to ensure that only private keepers who can provide the highest welfare standards will be able to keep primates. Under the changes, it will no longer be possible to keep primates in domestic settings, such as within people’s homes, which fail to provide for their needs.

What are our concerns?

Licensing is not expected to come into force until 2026, subject to parliamentary processes. Existing keepers will have two years from the secondary legislation being approved to reach compliance with the licensing conditions. We feel this is too long to wait, with countless primates across the country suffering from inadequate conditions right now. 

We would much rather see a total ban on primate ownership with a grandfather clause for existing animals, as opposed to a licensing scheme for private keepers. This licensing scheme will allow breeding and selling to continue, and we are concerned about local authorities’ ability to enforce this. Therefore, we also want to see the implementation of a centralised enforcement body.

How you can help

You can contact your local MP to call on them to raise our concerns about primates as pets, and how a total ban would benefit the lives of thousands of vulnerable animals. You can find out your MP here at Write to Them

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