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Vets call for ban on monkey pets

British Veterinary Association | British Veterinary Association

2 min read Partner content

The keeping of primates as pets should be banned, according to vets.

The British Veterinary Association( BVA) said primates are long-lived, intelligent, socially-complex animals and there are no circumstances where they would benefit from being kept as a pet.

Last month the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee began an inquiry into the keeping of primates as pets.

Vets at the BVAwill tell the committee they have concluded that it is almost impossible for private owners to provide primates with appropriate care as defined by the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

BVAPresident Robin Hargreaves said:

“Primates cannot be kept on their own. They need at least one companion in order to express natural behaviour. They require both an indoor and outdoor enclosure to ensure adequate exercise and exposure to UV light, and each species has specific dietary requirements.

“These animals are not domesticated companions like dogs and cats, or even livestock, and are extraordinarily difficult to care for properly.

“Very few people can provide the necessary resources to meet their welfare needs. We therefore favour a ban on the keeping of primates as private pets.”

As part of the consultation BVAconsidered the possibility that primate welfare could be improved through better regulation or licensing but members did not feel these options went far enough given the difficulties involved in meeting primates’ basic welfare needs.

The only exception to the ban recommended by BVAwould be to allow individuals who are working in partnership with accredited zoos to breed primates for conservation purposes.

BVAalso recognises that a ban could not be enforced immediately and effective plans, including an appropriate transition period, would be needed to secure suitable accommodation for existing pet primates.

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