Primate Rescue Center

Cruel Treatment of Primate Pets May Come to End

Erika Fleury December 10, 2015

In the UK, the harrowing plight of thousands of monkeys kept in filth and squalor as trendy pets looks as if it is coming to an end.

Heartbreaking scenes of marmosets and squirrel monkeys confined in bird cages and fed on sweets and sugary drinks have become a shocking reality for animal welfare workers. Tragic stories of three capuchin monkeys called Gizzie, Grips and Kiwi have highlighted the need for regulations to stop primates being kept as pets. The sorrowful, intelligent animals endured a squalid life in a cold breeze block outbuilding as well as an appalling diet before they were eventually rescued.

When freedom finally came, the small, cat-size monkeys were emaciated, after being fed a diet that included sugary sweets and biscuits. Grips even displayed signs of type two diabetes. As they happily live out their days at Wild Futures' Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall, where they are progressing well, welfare campaigners are applauding the progress in making primate as pets history.

Vernon is a vervet the PRC rescued from an animal hoarder. He will experience negative side effects of his mistreatment for the rest of his life.

Born Free Foundation, British Veterinary Association (BVA), Captive Animals' Protection Society, Four Paws, OneKind, the RSPCA and Wild Futures joined forces earlier this year to call on the governments across the UK to introduce regulations that will end the keeping and trading of these complex creatures as pets.

David Bowles, the RSPCA's assistant director of public affairs, said: "Groups like the RSPCA and Wild Futures get approximately a call every week from someone concerned about the welfare of a monkey being kept as a pet. "RSPCA Inspectors find them living in bird cages, being fed sugary drinks and sweets and living in filthy conditions. Even when the owner has good intentions the animals' needs are not being met because primates are so difficult to keep and it is extremely complicated to ensure their welfare needs are being met.Pictures of celebrities such as Justin Bieber with their pet primates have only heightened the cachet of owning an exotic animal adapted for life in a rainforest rather than a two-up-two-down in suburbia.

The Government now appears to be the brink of coming down on primate ownership after intensive campaigning by animal welfare charities who say as many 5,000 of these highly intelligent animals are being kept as pets in the UK Environment Minister George Eustice is reported as being "open to looking" into the introduction of measures such as a ban and licensing system, with a sunset clause for those currently keeping primates as pets.

- Sunday Express

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