Vets and animal charities have welcomed the launch of an eight-week public consultation on the government’s manifesto commitment to ban keeping primates such as capuchins, lemurs and squirrel monkeys as pets.
Under the proposed plans, it would be an offence to keep a primate as a pet in England. Only those kept to zoo level standards would be permitted.
“For a long time, we have called for a ban on private individuals keeping primates as pets,” said British Veterinary Association senior vice president Daniella Dos Santos.
“As vets, we have significant concerns as to whether the health and welfare needs of primates can ever be met under these circumstances.
“Primates are long-lived, intelligent and socially complex animals whose needs are extraordinarily difficult to meet in captivity and we can think of no circumstances where a primate would benefit from being kept in this way.
“We welcome the Government’s move to open a public consultation on this and hope that it does indeed result in a ban. If the UK wants to maintain its reputation for some of the highest standards of animal welfare in the world and if the government wants to fulfil its promises of enhancing the welfare of animals as we leave Europe then we must put an end to the keeping and trade of primates as pets.”
Dr Ros Clubb, senior scientific manager at the RSPCA, said: “We warmly welcome the government’s proposals to ban keeping primates as pets in England. We look forward to reading the government’s proposals in detail and hope that the legislation will deliver an end to the keeping and trade of primates as pets.
“The RSPCA has been calling for a complete ban on the keeping and trade of primates as pets for some time, because their needs simply cannot be met in a domestic environment.
“They are intelligent, sentient and highly social animals with complex needs. Just like humans, primates can become depressed without adequate stimulation. They need a spacious and enriched environment that challenges their intelligent brains and allows for them to behave like primates