MPs demand accurate data on primate pet numbers
MPs are calling for urgent government action to determine how many primates are being kept as pets across the UK. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) committee says they are worried about the welfare of animals being kept privately. In their report, the MPs say they support the idea of a ban on keeping and trading primates as pets.
Before that happens, they argue, the government must come up with accurate estimates on numbers and species. Keeping primates as pets is currently legal in the UK. The big problem is that no-one is sure how many marmosets, tamarins, spider monkeys and others are in private hands. According to the evidence taken by the MPs, the numbers could range between 3,000 and 20,000.
These figures were said to be at best, informed guesses. To clarify the issue, the committee has recommended that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) commission independent research on the number and type of primates being traded in the UK. They also want private owners to be given six months to register their animals before the count begins.