Primates as pets

A house is not their home

We strongly believe that primates, as highly intelligent and complex wild animals, are not suitable pets. Similar to humans, they form intricate relationships, experience emotions, and some can reflect on their past experiences and feelings.

Up to 5,000 primates in UK homes

Despite it being very difficult to meet the welfare needs of primates in captivity, there are an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 primates, such as marmosets, capuchins and squirrel monkeys, being confined inside UK homes.

No more monkey business, it's time for a change

The UK Government is proposing the introduction of a licensing scheme which should mean that only zoological establishments would be able to meet the standards required to keep any primate in captivity. With the Welsh Government in support, they say they plan to end the keeping of primates as pets in domestic homes in England and Wales and we welcome this news. We're now looking forward to working with the UK and Welsh Governments to make sure the licensing scheme truly delivers this goal.

#ActNowForAnimals with the Kept Animals Bill

Take action and email your MP or AM to make sure they support the crucial Kept Animals Bill. By joining our #ActNowForAnimals action, you'll not only be standing up for primates, but also supporting farm animals and puppies that are also represented in the legislation.


Why primates suffer when not in their natural habitat

Astonishingly, it's entirely legal to keep a primate as a pet, regardless of how endangered or dangerous it is or how complex their needs are.

Social isolation

Primates are highly social beings, so isolated primates endure a life of torment. Not only can they become depressed, but they can self-mutilate, pluck out their own hair, and display behaviour such as rocking and self-hugging. All of these symptoms suggest suffering. Primates were kept alone in 60% of the cases we investigated.

They need their parents

Like humans, primates rely on their mothers, often until adulthood and beyond. Yet they can be torn from them at just a few weeks old to be hand-reared by humans, a distressful and cruel practice. This is no replacement for their mother's care, and this can cause behavioural issues throughout their lives.

Cramped cages

Primates need a spacious and enriched environment that challenges their intelligent brains and allows for them to behave as primates should. Often primates are kept in entirely inappropriate housing such as parrot cages, aviaries and sheds. These types of environments can't provide for their complex physical and social needs.

Damage to health and behaviour

Did you know every single pet primate taken in by a Cornwall monkey sanctuary arrived with behavioural problems? These include teeth-grinding, self-biting and constant pacing - evidence of the mental distress they experienced as pets.

Pet primates often have poor diets and little or no access to sunlight. Many develop Metabolic Bone Disease, leading to fractured or deformed bones, painful abscesses and tooth decay. The condition is common in primates weaned too early from their mothers.

If you agree that primates shouldn't be kept as pets take action now and email your MP or AM asking them to support the Kept Animals Bill.


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