Ban the Keeping of Primates as Pets


Target: Anne McIntosh, Chair of the Commons Environment Committee

Goal: Pass legislation making it illegal for private citizens to keep primates as pets in the United Kingdom

Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom have temporarily ruled out a ban on keeping primates as pets. The reason for the delay is that officials are waiting on concrete figures on exactly how many monkeys private citizens in Britain are keeping as pets. What is truly misguided about this decision is that it doesn’t matter how many are being kept as pets—monkeys should not be kept as pets at all and this legislation must be passed immediately.

According to a report filed by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRAC), estimates as to the number of pet primates in the United Kingdom range from 1,000 to as high as 20,000. The most common are squirrel monkeys, capuchins, and marmosets. Members of Parliament have called on the government to commission independent research into both the number of primates being kept and the conditions in which they are living. Anne McIntosh, chair of the committee, stated that the government needs to ensure that the monkeys are being cared for as well in private homes as they are in UK zoos.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has been actively performing its own research. It estimates there are 3,000 to 9,000 primates being kept as pets in the UK, and that this figure is likely rising because of the ease with which such animals can be purchased over the internet. “There is an alarming lack of regulation around the sale of primates and this makes it incredibly difficult to monitor,” said Ros Clubb of the RSPCA. “Primates have very complex needs and the level of suffering is high if these requirements are not met. In short primates are wild animals that cannot have their needs met in a household environment. They are not pets.”

Phillip Mansbridge of the organization Care for the Wild voiced his concerns, saying, “Deep down, we do know one thing: that monkeys, chimpanzees and other primates ultimately are not objects for us to own. And that information alone should be enough to settle this debate once and for all.” There should be no debate at all about whether to impose a ban. It isn’t a matter of how many or under what conditions. Primates should not, under any circumstances, be owned by private citizens.

Please sign the petition below and demand that Parliament pass legislation to ban keeping pets as primates in the United Kingdom.


Dear Anne McIntosh,

Members of Parliament in the UK recently postponed passing legislation that will ban private citizens from keeping primates as pets. The reason for the delay is that MPs have called on your committee to determine how many primates are being kept as pets and under what conditions they are living. However, the numbers don’t matter—primates should never be kept as pets. Monkeys’ needs are far too complex to be met in a household environment. As Phillip Mansbridge of Care for the Wild said, “No matter how you cut it, monkeys should be swinging in the trees with their family, not stuck in someone’s backyard in Birmingham.”

Please cease this unnecessary investigation and immediately pass legislation to keep primates from being owned as pets so that they can have the protection they deserve. This is a common sense issue and no more time should be wasted when lives are being ruined or lost.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: mrseb via Flickr

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  1. Cecily Colloby. says:

    Why are these idiots waiting to find out how many primates are kept as pets?? What the hell has this got to do with anything? Just ban the keeping of primates now-they are NOT pets and however “well” they are kept, they do not belong in some moron’shouse as a pet!!!I truly despair of the braindead people running this country-my cat could do a better job….

  2. Will someone please recreate this petition to be directed to an equivalent official in the US? There are undoubtedly many more ignorant fools in my country, largely populated by morons, than in the UK, and we have documented cases of these unfortunate animals going berserk and attacking humans, resulting in their being put down by authorities.

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