Monkey World is asking for change for the UK pet trade and the legal sale of primates.
The plight of pet monkeys in the UK following last year’s petition demanding “Welfare for Wildlife”, was discussed in Parliament yesterday.
This was handed into Downing St. by Monkey World director Dr Alison Cronin, MP Richard Drax and musician Peter Gabriel.
In a statement Monkey World said: “These primates, (which include all species of tamarin, squirrel monkey and marmosets) can be bought as easily as goldfish, often by well-meaning animal lovers from unscrupulous breeders.
“Due to the unregulated trade, social media sales are rife and primates are not the only victims, as scams are on the rise.
“Some ‘breeders’ have sold the same monkey several times for huge sums, up to £1700 in some cases. Many others claim to need deposits for vet checks and transport, with no monkey forthcoming after the unsuspecting buyer parts with his money.”
The centre said that it has rescued 106 primates from private homes and over half of these have taken place in the last five years.
Monkey World claims that the trade is on the rise with many of the ‘pets’ suffering from rickets, aggression and mobility issues.
The centre stated: “Often [they become ill] from being kept alone in bird cages, with no outside access and a diet of table scraps.
“As an international rescue centre, working with governments around the world to stop the smuggling of primates from the wild, it is tragic that the home-grown legal UK pet trade is the largest problem Monkey World faces.
“Antiquated animal laws are failing to protect the primates from cruelty or neglect, and instead only occasionally lead to prosecution once it has occurred.”
Dr Alison Cronin, who is regularly called to assist upset private owners, the RSPCA in cruelty cases and police who encounter vulnerable monkeys said “Every week, Monkey World is contacted to rescue more victims of the legal trade in monkeys as ‘pets’ in the UK. For a nation of animal lovers, this uncontrolled trade is causing suffering for both animals and people. The current laws need to change”