The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed recommendations that primate owners in England register their pets, but is still calling on the Government to introduce a ban.

In its report, the Efra committee concluded a ban could address the welfare problems associated with private primate ownership, but recommended registration as an initial step.

BVA president Robin Hargreaves said registration was a valuable first step, but the initial options put forward in the report did not go far enough.

“The BVA believes very few people can provide the necessary resources to meet the complex welfare needs of these long-lived, intelligent, socially-complex animals.

“We therefore continue to favour a ban on the keeping of primates as private pets.”

As part of the consultation, BVA considered the possibility that primate welfare could be improved through better regulation or licensing, but members did not feel these options went far enough.

The only exception to the ban recommended by BVA, it said, would be to allow individuals who are working in partnership with accredited zoos to breed primates for conservation purposes.

BVA welcomed other recommendations in the report, particularly the proposed review of the Pet Animals Act (1951), which predates internet sales and was drafted when there was less interest in private keeping and breeding of exotic animals.

BVA also welcomed the committee’s recognition that codes of practice need to be species-specific to be effective and their recommendation local authorities employ experts from zoo licensing or diploma holders in zoo and wildlife medicine to ensure any primates kept privately are cared for to a level equivalent with accredited zoo standards.

For more information, visit the Efra committee’s website.

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