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.
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.”