A member of the British Parliament is calling for the ban of breeding, selling and keeping primates as pets in response to a loophole in current animal welfare legislation.
According to the BBC, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals supports the ban and estimates that 3,000 primates are kept as pets in the United Kingdom.
The RSPCA noted that primates have special needs a domestic household cannot provide. Primates are susceptible to bone disease and vitamin D3 deficiency when kept in cramped cages and out of the sun.
“The demand for so-called exotic pets is growing and the problem is getting worse rather than diminishing,” Mark Pritchard, a Conservative MP, told BBC News. “In my view there is a clear correlation between the scarcity of some of these species and the pet trade.”
In fact, a recent World Conservation Union study found that 48 percent of primate species face extinction.
A representative of the Monkey Sanctuary Trust said that although legal vendors claim that small monkeys for sale in the United Kingdom are bred in captivity, it is virtually impossible to know their native origins.
“As long as there is a legal trade, it will feed an illegal one too,” the representative said.
“Call for ban on primates as pets”
BBC News, October 13, 2008