UK: keeping monkeys as pets is to be banned

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Rhianna with her 'baby' monkey pet

Keeping monkeys as pets causes suffering for the animals and it endangers their survival in the wild. The UK government is preparing to announce that anybody who buys, sells and breeds pet monkeys will face a significant fine. In the UK there are about 5,000 pet monkeys including marmosets, tamarins, capuchin momkeys, squirrel monkeys, lemurs and other species.

Rhianna with her 'baby' monkey pet

Rhianna with her ‘baby’ monkey pet. Does this make you as sick as me looking at this as she treats the monkey as her baby child? Photo: on Pinterest and therefore I argue that it is in the public domain.

It is argued that people act on impulse and are unable to care for a monkey adequately because of their specialist needs and that it is impossible to care for a monkey properly at home. Currently in the UK there are no requirements to register ownership of many primate species and yet you can buy them online for about £1,000.

Celebrities such as Justin Bieber are partly responsible because they’ve fuelled this impulse purchase. You may remember that not long ago Justin Bieber was in the news having adopted a monkey which reportedly he could not care for properly. He took the capuchin monkey on tour to Germany where it was seized by customs officials and kept in quarantine before being transferred to a zoo.

Further, Rhianna has been photographed with a capuchin monkey (see above). Court proceedings were started against her partner, Chris Brown, for buying the monkey without proper documentation.

In the wild, sometimes monkeys are taken from their mothers when they are young. They are then kept in isolation. They can become depressed and display behavioural issues such as hair pulling, rocking back and forth and self-mutilation; clear signs of huge distress.

The UK government will publish a consultation on introducing the ban within a matter of days. In order to avoid current monkey owners abandoning their so-called pets after the ban has been instigated, it has been decided that they can keep them. However, they will have to apply for a new primate keeper’s licence and adhere to the same standards as is applied to zoos if they want to continue to keep the animal.

David Bowles of the RSPCA said that celebrities have encouraged people to adopt exotic animals as pets, including monkeys. He said that the two big problems in keeping monkeys as pets is that they are (1) kept alone against their sociable needs and (2) kept at the wrong temperature and under the wrong lighting, both of which results in them getting diseases and suffering immensely.

Adopting monkeys and any other exotic species as a pet leads, down the line, to the gradual extinction of that species in the wild so although it looks rather innocent, it is not.

I have refered to other species. The same can be said about cheetah and caracal cubs. Cheetahs are very popular in the Middle East as pets but young cheetahs are torn from their mothers to fuel this extravagant self-indulgence. It is highly irresponsible.

It is time to extend the ban on exotic pets to other animals.