Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

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.

 

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Face covering rules expanded

News Story 1
 New rules came into force in England on Saturday (8 August) making it mandatory for clients to wear a face covering in veterinary practices.

The rules, which also apply to cinemas, museums and places of worship, follow a recent spike in coronavirus cases. All clients in England must now wear a face covering when inside a veterinary practice unless they are exempt for age, health or equality reasons. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
BSAVA webinars to shine the spotlight on selected journal papers

A free series of webinars that take a closer look at selected papers published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice has been produced by the BSAVA.

In the new BSAVA Science webinar series, authors of the featured papers discuss their results with a panel and how they may impact clinical practice. The authors then answer questions submitted by audience members.

The webinars are available via the BSAVA Webinar Library, covering four different papers. JSAP editor Nicola Di Girolamo, said: "Discussing the research with the authors - experts in their field - really helps to bring the papers to life."