Primate Rescue Center

Monkey Pet Trade Is ‘Tragic And Out Of Control’

Erika Fleury April 20, 2016

A petition calling for new laws providing better standards of care for monkeys kept as pets in the UK has been handed to Downing Street.

Over 110,000 signatures have been collected by campaigners demanding better welfare legislation for primates.The petition was handed in to No. 10 by director of Monkey World, Dr Alison Cronin, musician and activist Peter Gabriel, and South Dorset MP, Richard Drax. Dr Cronin says the same standards of care in zoos and wildlife parks should be applied to households.

She is calling upon the Government to ensure monkeys are guaranteed welfare that meets their physical and psychological needs and says she has a waiting list of primates that need specialist care. "Many well-meaning but ignorant people are buying these wild animals, at vast expense, from unscrupulous breeders, animal dealers, and pet shops that are taking advantage and telling people it is okay to keep a monkey in solitary confinement, in a bird cage, in their sitting room. It is tragic and out of control."

Grady is a capuchin monkey who arrived at the PRC after living as a pet.

Campaigners want legislation implementing care standards for primates including companionship with their own kind, heated indoor accommodation, outdoor spaces with complex climbing frames, an appropriate diet including vitamins, and access to specialist veterinarians.

Tina Robinson kept monkeys for seven years and is backing the petition saying owners are not given the right information to cope with primate care. Despite spending £12,000 on building a special enclosure she says she was unable to look after them properly and two died. She eventually gave four marmosets to Monkey World in Dorset where they are being looked after by experts: "If I could turn back time and if I could make any changes it would be that unless you actually know what you're doing and you're a specialist for primates then it's too upsetting. You love them, they're your animals and you care for them, but they're not dogs or cats they're primates and they need specialist care."

Marmosets, tamarins and spider monkeys are the most popular monkeys in the pet trade in Britain. Since 1987 Monkey World has rescued 100 primates from the British pet trade, 50 of them arriving in the last five years.

The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) said: "All efforts should be made by the responsible authorities to ensure that primate husbandry and welfare standards apply equally to all holders."

- Sky News

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