Public and experts Call for ban on keeping primates as pets

There is talk under way that the Government could ban people from keeping primates as pets in England as part of a campaign to improve animal welfare.

It is currently an offence to cause primates unnecessary suffering or not to provide for their welfare needs – yet keeping them as pets is allowed if they are properly cared for.

There are an estimated 5,000 pet primates in the UK, including squirrel monkeys, lemurs, marmosets, tamarins and capuchins.

But the animals have complex welfare and social needs, which those in favour of a ban say cannot be met in a domestic environment.

Primates sold as pets are often taken from their mothers and kept in isolation. They can become depressed and display behaviour such as self-mutilation, hair pulling and rocking back and forth.

It is currently legal to own a pet primate in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland although a ban in England could put pressure on devolved administrations to follow suit, advocates of a ban said.

The move follows the introduction of other animal welfare measures such as banning wild animals in travelling circuses and a commitment to increasing maximum sentencing for animal cruelty from six months to five years.

Reforms that came into force in October last year mean anyone trading in pets both online and offline will be subject to the same strict licensing conditions as other breeders and pet shops.

What kind of person keeps a wild animal as a pet knowing the pyschological damage done to these poor creatures?