Animal welfare charities have expressed concern about the rapidly rising number of primates being kept in “backyard Britain” and joined with the BVA to push for a ban on keeping them as pets.

RSPCA inspectors are having to deal with situations where monkeys are living in squalor and suffering from disease.

Calls about pet monkeys have increased threefold in the last five years, with Manchester named as the nation’s hotspot for primates in trouble, said the RSPCA.

Needs not met

An estimated 5,000 primates are being kept as pets across the UK, but new data suggests many are suffering and not having vital social, dietary and environmental needs met.

Marmosets, capuchins and squirrel monkeys are some of the primates being kept as pets, and rescue groups receive approximately one call every three days relating to the welfare of a monkey.

RSPCA senior scientific officer Dr Ros Clubb said: “The level of calls we are getting shows the number of primates out there is increasing – and at an alarming level. The spread of calls across the country is real cause for concern too.

Living in squalor

“Sadly, our inspectors have seen situations where monkeys have been cooped up in bird cages, fed fast food and sugary drinks, deprived of friends of their own kind, living in squalor and suffering from disease.

“We fear there are hundreds more suffering behind closed doors because people do not know how to look after these animals properly. That is why the RSPCA has joined forces with Born Free Foundation, the BVA, Captive Animal Protection Society, Four Paws, One Kind and Wild Futures to push for a ban on keeping primates as pets. We are all concerned about the situation of primates being kept as pets in the UK.”

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2 Comments on "Welfare charities push for ban on pet primates"

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Chris Newman
Chris Newman
9 months 24 days ago

It is very disappointing to [see] the BVA (and indeed the RSPCA) supporting this entirely disingenuous campaign led by key members of the Animal Rights Industry. The keeping of a primate as a pet is already effectively illegal under the Animal Welfare Act and underpinning Code of Practice. The RSPCA has all the tools it needs to address welfare concerns, so why is it not doing so? Also why does the BVA hold a position on this, have they sought comment from the BVZS on this issue?

John Dineley
John Dineley
9 months 24 days ago

Indeed. Why is the BVA getting involved in what is a campaign generated by the animal-right lobby. Parliament has already looked into this issue and do not support a ban. Some independent research would have helped as some of your members have clients who privately keep primates.


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