Friday, 22 August 2014

Primates being sold legally in 21 English pet shops

Using information gathered from Local Authorities under the Freedom of Information act the conservation charity Born Free has identified 21 pet shops in England licensed to sell primates.

In 2010, Defra published a Code of Practice on the private keeping of primates, as a guide to meeting the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act, however say Born Free “their investigation indicates several areas where purchasing primates from pet shops may not meet the guidelines in the Code of Practice.”

In particular the charity found; 
Pet shops are willing to sell single primates, without at least verifying with the potential purchaser that the primate would be housed with others of the same species.
Staff at one shop did not appear to know that a marmoset was a monkey.

Pet shops were inconsistent in their advice regarding where and how to keep primates – for example, recommending that primates could be housed in a spare room or garage.

There were concerns for the welfare of some primates kept in pet shops, with monkeys in one shop on sale in cages traditionally used to keep parrots.

And sadly this is the tip of the iceberg as this investigation only included licensed pet shops with high street premises. It is likely, say the charity, that the majority of the primate trade occurs away from the high street. In fact, one pet shop reported that they no longer sold primates but specifically advised the public that they could easily be obtained online.

Chris Draper, Born Free’s Programmes Manager for Captive Wild Animals/Science said: “Many people may be shocked to discover that it is still possible to walk into a high-street pet shop in England and buy a primate. Experts agree that primates are ill-suited for private ownership, where their behavioural, psychological, and environmental needs cannot be met, and consequently we would like to see an end to the keeping of primates as pets.”

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