Four Paws UK Is Calling on the Government to Ban the Keeping of Primates as Pets in the UK
An estimated 5000 primates are being kept as pets in the UK, a figure that many people will no doubt find shocking. The most popular primates that are kept and traded as pets are Marmosets, Capuchins and Squirrel Monkeys.
Primates are highly intelligent, complex and sociable wild animals that do not adapt well to being kept as pets. The essential bonds that are formed through grooming, playing, fighting and foraging with their own kind to establish social groups, the right diet, husbandry and enrichment are all essential for the primates physical and mental welfare.
It Is Impossible to Meet These Needs in a Household Environment.
A primate cannot engage with its natural instincts as a pet and although owners may have good intentions their welfare needs cannot be met. No primate should be kept alone, yet the RSPCA has found that in 60% of the cases they have investigated the primate is being kept alone in isolation. The lack of vitamin D from natural sunlight and the right diet can result in skeletal diseases and there is a risk of certain diseases spreading between owner, other house pets and primates.
Neither Marmosets or Squirrel monkeys require any kind of licencing so it is impossible to keep track of numbers in the UK accurately. A DWA (Dangerous Wild Animal) licence is required for selected primates like Capuchins. However, the licence is non species specific and are issued by officials who have little or no understanding of primates.
15 Countries in the EU Have Already Introduced a Ban on All or at Least Most Primates Being Kept as Pets. It’s Time for the UK to Catch Up
FOUR PAWS UK has submitted a response to the recent Government enquiry on banning primates as pets, calling for a complete ban on the keeping and trade of primates as pets.
How You Can Help
Earlier this year we responded to a Government consultation calling for a ban on primates as pets in the UK – and so did thousands of you! Now we wait while the Government reviews these responses.
In the meantime we can keep the pressure going. Ask you MP to support this call and make sure to current Government keeps it’s manifesto commitment to ban primates as pets in the UK once and for all.
While we are pleased that the Government will introduce further measures to prohibit the keeping of primates as pets within the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, we do not feel these measures go far enough. We want to see an outright ban on the keeping of primates as pets, as opposed to a licensing scheme in which license holders can still breed and commercially trade their primates. We will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure the welfare of primates kept as pets.