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Protect Primates

Help end the trade & keeping of primates as pets

FOUR PAWS has joined forces with fellow animal welfare and veterinary organisations the RSPCA, Wild Futures, Born Free, the British Veterinary Association, One Kind and Captive Animals Protection Society to launch a campaign 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, followed by Capuchins and Squirrel Monkeys.


Primates are highly intelligent, complex and sociable wild animals that do not adapt 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 vital for the primates physical and mental welfare and 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.

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.

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.

15 countries in the EU have already introduced a ban on all or at least most primates being kept as pets.



Please join our petition now and call on the UK government to ban both the trade and keeping of primates as pets.