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England to tighten pet primate laws
Up to 5,000 primates are kept as pets in the UK.
New licensing scheme welcomed by the RSPCA and BVA.

The Government has introduced legislation that will mean only private keepers who meet strict welfare standards are allowed to keep primates in England.

The move has been welcomed by the RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association as effectively banning people from keeping primates as pets. Up to 5,000 primates are estimated to be currently kept as pets in the UK.

Under the new legislation, primate keepers will have to apply for a specialist licence from their local authority that will be valid for a maximum of three years. Keepers will face at least one inspection per licensing period to ensure that welfare standards are being met and will be reinspected when renewing their licence.

The new rules, to be introduced under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, are expected to come into force from 2026. Failure to comply with them could result in an unlimited fine or the removal of the primate.

Animal welfare minister Robbie Douglas-Miller said: “Primates are intelligent and curious animals and we’re delivering on our pledge to ban the keeping of these inquisitive creatures as pets.

“It is already an offence under the Animal Welfare Act to keep a primate while not providing for their welfare needs or to cause them unnecessary suffering, and these plans will tighten the rules further.

“We have consistently led the world in raising the bar for animal welfare standards and this legislation is yet another step.”

Both the BVA and the RSPCA have said that they look forward to working with the Government to ensure that the legislation is effective.

BVA president Anna Judson said: “This ban on the keeping of primates as pets in England is good news, and I hope the devolved nations will quickly follow suit. The British Veterinary Association has been clear with the Government, that the needs of primates are so complex they can rarely be met in a domestic environment.

“It is therefore vital that the proposed licensing system goes far enough and the ban is able to be properly enforced. We urge the Government to work closely with veterinary and zoological organisations to get this right and ensure the welfare of these animals isn’t compromised.”

Dr Ros Clubb, head of the RSPCA’s Wildlife Department, added: “We look forward to working with the UK Government to ensure that the proposed licensing system can be adequately enforced, and will be robust enough to effectively protect the welfare of primates that remain with private keepers until the end of their natural lives.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.