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Monkey World News

The Suffering of Sinbad

The Express


SHAMEFUL: Sinbad was found in a filthy cage in the Leigh pet shop owned by Ralphson, The monkey is now starting a new life at a Dorset sanctuary

The suffering of Sinbad kept in a small, filthy and stinking cage and fed on junk food, Sinbad the Capuchin monkey's face epitomises his total despair. But even more shameful than his grotesque surroundings is the fact that Sinbad could legally exist like this in a British pet shop. The Express can today reveal that legal loopholes in this country allow monkeys to be kept in squalor, almost free from official inspection, leaving them traumatised, malnourished and sometimes close to death. The problems arise because the well-being of chimps and monkeys - such as Trudi the chimp in the Chipperfield cruelty case - is governed by three different Acts of Parliament and two government departments. Campaigners, who want tighter regulations and the law clarified, say this leads to scores of neglect and cruelty cases slipping through the net. The RSPCA is now investigating pet shop owner Rob Ralphson, who runs Pets Corner in Leigh, near Manchester, where it found Sinbad. It is claimed that his cage - 20in wide by four feet long - was covered in a 12in deep layer of faeces and food cartons, and that Sinbad, whose natural diet is fresh fruit, was fed on live crickets, dead chicks, mice, Mars bars and Ribena. Sinbad could reach the top floor of the shop by climbing through a hole in the ceiling, but the floor there was littered with broken furniture, glass, electrical appliances and rubbish. Ralphson, who has had his pet shop licence renewed annually for the past 16 years, has now had it refused and council officers have given him three weeks to rehouse the animals. He has given Sinbad to the Monkey World Sanctuary in Dorset, which took in the Chipperfield chimp Trudi. But he claimed: "The monkey was as fit as anything. He had the run of the room upstairs which is 70ft by 20ft and he got all the fresh air he wanted. He was bred in captivity and that's all he knows." There is a ray of hope for monkeys like Sinbad. Junior environment minister Alan Meale recently told millions of viewers on live TV that "something would be done" about the loopholes that fail pet monkeys. However, primate expert Alison Cronin, who was also on the programme and runs Monkey World with her husband Jim, 46, said: "We've heard nothing from him in four months despite his TV promises. We gave him addresses where we thought primates were mistreated but they've either ignored it or passed the buck." It was four months after giving the DoE their list of addresses that Alison and Jim and the RSPCA rescued Sinbad. Jim said: "I doubt Sinbad has seen the sunshine since he was born and has no idea he actually is a monkey. He cleans himself like a cat. It's unbelievable this shop was ever granted a licence." Alison added: "It is too early to tell how much mental damage has been done to Sinbad but he's still relatively young and I'm sure he'll be fine." When The Express contacted the DoE its spokeswoman said: "Pet shops come under the Home Office and so do individuals who keep monkeys. We passed the information on to them."The DoE claimed that Mr Meale was responsible only for primates in zoos and safari parks. But a Home Office spokesman insisted it was "absolutely clear" that the DoE was also responsible for primates kept privately.

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