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Government seeks views on primates kept as pets
“Primates are very intelligent and curious wild animals with highly complex welfare and social needs which must be respected" - Zac Goldsmith, animal welfare minister. 

Current laws are not protecting monkeys from abuse or neglect

Animal welfare minister Zac Goldsmith has launched a call for evidence on primates kept as pets as part of government efforts to improve animal welfare.


The government is seeking views on the welfare of primates kept as pets in England, including opinions on restricting ownership, sales and breeding of primates. It builds on reforms introduced in October last year, meaning anyone trading in pets, both online and offline, will be subject to the same strict licensing conditions as other breeders and pet shops. 


Mr Goldsmith said: “Primates are very intelligent and curious wild animals with highly complex welfare and social needs which must be respected. Through the extraordinary work of Monkey World’s Dr Alison Cronin, I have seen first-hand how keeping them as pets can cause immense suffering.

“That is why the government is today launching this crucial call for evidence to help understand how we can better protect these wild animals. If the evidence supports it, I will ask the department to draw up a consultation on banning the practice.

“This action is part of our strong commitment to protecting animals and follows steps we have already taken, including banning wild animals in travelling circuses and a commitment to increasing maximum sentencing for animal cruelty from six months to five years.”

According to figures released by the RSPCA, there are between 4,000 and 5,000 primates currently kept as pets in the UK. Among these include lemurs, monkeys and apes.

Those in favour of a ban say that primates’ complex behaviour and welfare needs cannot be met in a domestic environment. Under the Animal Welfare Act, it is an offence to keep a primate while not meeting their specific welfare needs.

Monkey World CEO Dr Alison Cronin MBE said: “Monkey World has rescued primates from the British pet trade for more than 30 years, and we have experienced a dramatic increase in the numbers. We have rescued 72 in the last 10 years, and now have a waiting list numbering more than 100.

“Current laws are not protecting the monkeys from abuse or neglect, as they arrive at the park malnourished, with rickets, mobility problems and psychologically damaged as a result of living in solitary confinement, inside people’s houses.

“Many people are also victim of this unnecessary trade when they are taken in by unscrupulous dealers, scam ads and social media pressure. We are asking people to let DEFRA know that this trade is unacceptable and the current legislation is not working. The laws must change.”

To respond to this call for evidence email AnimalWelfare.Consultations@defra.gov.uk including any supporting documents. The closing date for evidence is 5pm on 16 January 2020.

 

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Cats Protection launches Christmas animation

News Story 1
 Leading feline charity Cats Protection has launched a heartwarming Christmas animation to raise awareness of the important work it does. The animation is based on a true story of a kitten that went missing earlier this year. Freezing cold and hungry, the kitten was dumped in a box on a roadside and somehow became separated from her brother and sisters.


Thankfully there is a happy end to this tail, and Libby - now named Misty - was eventually reunited with her littermates. Misty’s owner, Amy Smith, said: “Misty has settled amazingly well into our home, she has found a best friend in my daughter Lily and likes to follow her around the house. She also loves to chase bugs in the garden. We feel very lucky to have her.” 

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WSAVA launches certificate programme focusing on companion animals in One Health

The first certificate programme focusing specifically on the role of companion animals in One Health has been launched by the One Health Committee (OHC) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

The online programme, which is free of charge for WSAVA members, has been developed in recognition of the growing impact of companion animals in human society. Pet ownership is becoming more popular globally, and this has increased the implications for One Health, regarding the human-companion animal bond. The WSAVA OHC hopes that this course will bridge the knowledge gap between veterinary surgeons and human physicians. New modules are being added weekly, with a total of 20 modules expected to be available by early 2020.