UK Government Likely to Ban Keeping Primates as Pets in England

16 December 2020 Successes

In hopeful news for primate welfare, the department for food and rural affairs (DEFRA) has opened a consultation on the keeping of primates as pets.

The proposed policy is part of the package of animal welfare laws to come into place after the UK leaves the EU. DEFRA proposes a ban on privately kept primates, excluding when kept to ‘zoo standards’, with such keepers being required to hold a novel ‘specialist private primate keeper’ license. As animal welfare is a devolved issue, these reforms are only set to take place in England. 

Under the proposed policy, primates currently held in conditions outside of those specified would remain in their present place for the rest of their lives, or until rehomed. Upholding these rules would be trusted to local authorities.

Several Ape Alliance Members, including Monkey World, IFAW, Wild Futures, Born Free, Neotropical Primate Conservation, and the RSPCA, have supported the proposed ban which could massively improve the welfare of captive primates; DEFRA estimates there could be up to 5000 primates kept outside of licensed zoos in the UK.

You can give your opinion on this important issue as a specialist, organisation or individual, by completing the government survey: Primates as pets in England - Defra - Citizen Space.

You can read more about the issue in this article from the Independent.

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