Monday, 8 July 2013

When will the UK do something about its primate pet trade shame?

UK Primate Pet Trade petition

Much as I enjoyed my visit to Monkey World and really like what they are doing, it is nevertheless sad that a primate sanctuary is needed at all. With their work in South-East Asia, it is easy to forget that many of the animals rescued by Monkey World actually come from the UK. Monkey World clearly does not forget this and one of the things the keepers ask of visitors is to sign their petition against the UK pet trade. It’s not just that primates in the UK are being kept in wholly unsuitable conditions - it’s entirely legal do to so. Caring organisations like zoos (including Monkey World) have to provide standards of care that private owners simply do not. This is a legal loophole that must surely be closed.

Following our visit, I started looking for additional online petitions on this issue, as I figured there must be some. Looking on HM Government’s e-petition site, I did discover one that closed in February 2012 to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which was actually created by Monkey World founder, Alison Cronin:

Primates as Pets Petition

I would like to state my opposition to the LEGAL trade in primate as pets in Great Britain today. We believe that is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that any captive monkeys receive a standard of care that meets their behavioural and physical needs regardless of whether they are kept in private homes or pet shops. We are asking the British Government to issue guidance to local authorities, responsible for granting licences for these exotic pets, to use the same standard of duty of care as they would for primates kept in zoo or wildlife parks (the Zoo Licensing Act 1981). If a monkey is deserving of a certain standard of care in a zoo or wildlife park, by definition it is deserving of the same standard of care in a private home or pet shop. We would like our concerns addressed by the Goverment and Select Committee immediately.

Number of signatures: 4,229
Created by: Dr Alison Cronin, MBE
Closing: 29/02/2012 12:04

Just as disappointing, a “Primates should not be kept as pets” petition on the Petition Site earlier this year garnered a measly 3,057 signatures.

It’s not just Monkey World calling for this. The RSPCA have also called for a ban:

Dr Ros Clubb, senior wildlife scientist for the charity, commented: “We must stop this growing trade. It has become far too easy to pick up a monkey over the internet, especially since you don’t need a licence to keep many of them.”

How can anyone look at these creatures and think that keeping them “in tiny, indoor cages, in solitary confinement” is OK? Please, sign the Monkey World petition.

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