Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Born Free Reacts to Parliamentary Report on ‘Pet’ Primates

10 June 2014

Categories: Homepage News, Primates Campaign News, Zoo Check Campaign News

© Mike Dooley

Today has seen the release of a report from the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee regarding the keeping of primates as pets. The Born Free Foundation is calling for swift action to implement a nationwide prohibition on the private ownership of these animals.

Adam Roberts, Acting CEO of the Born Free Foundation said: “While the report echoes the concerns of animal welfare groups on some aspects of the keeping of primates as pets, in other areas it is off the mark. We are concerned that one of the main recommendations in the report is that there be more research on the scale of the trade in primates as pets before a ban is considered. The question is not one of numbers – it’s one of animal welfare. Experts agree that primates are ill-suited for private ownership, where their behavioural, psychological, and environmental needs cannot be met. Whether there are 1,000 or 10,000 primates in homes in Britain, it is too many.

In fact, Born Free is already working to pull together the best and most reliable evidence on the matter. More information on our work on this issue can be found here.

Born Free welcomes the fact that the EFRA report identifies deficiencies with existing legislation such as the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 in protecting the welfare of primates as pets; and that the report calls for a review of the Pet Animals Act 1951, which governs the licensing of pet shops and sellers, in light of the explosion of sales of pet animals online. The Born Free Foundation fully supports this long-overdue course of action.

Alongside other NGOs, Born Free is calling for the Government to act on this issue and ban the keeping of primates as pets, with provision made for those primates already kept as pets to stay with their current owners (assuming their welfare is protected).

We are staggered that, in this day and age, it is legal to keep such complex and intelligent animals as pets in the UK, and that their sale is in some cases unregulated. No amount of Codes of Practice or research will address this. The compassionate, sensible and precautionary approach would be for Government to move swiftly to introduce a ban on the keeping of these animals in private hands.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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