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Monkey World News

Policy review into primates as pets

Daily Echo

SOUTH Dorset MP and biodiversity minister Jim Knight will be asking for the public's views on keeping monkeys and other primates as pets in a review of government policy. A new report from the International Fund for Animal Welfare warns of a catalogue of suffering among chimpanzees and other apes kept and traded as pets. There are 520 registered primate pets in the UK but Ifaw believes many more exist - and says their long lives and high intelligence mean they suffer distress in a similar way to humans. Mr Knight said: "Based on our scientific advice, the government does not consider primates are suitable for the general pet trade, which is why we currently limit imports of these species to specialist keepers, who must be able to demonstrate that they are sufficiently well equipped and experienced to care for them. "It is important that we have a sound evidence base as we formulate future policy on keeping monkeys and other primates as pets under European law, and the Ifaw report will make a valuable contri-bution to the dialogue as we review our policy on this issue." Ifaw is calling on the government to phase out the keeping of primates as pets. When existing pets die, no more should be allowed in homes, it says. The government is considering whether to implement article 8.2 of European Council regulation 338/97 to ban the keeping of primates. Mr Knight said: "People will be able to voice their opinions during public consultations on the use of the powers under article 8.2 of European Council Registration 338/97, which are planned to begin by the end of July." Dorset conservationist Jim Cronin, who runs the Monkey World sanctuary near Wool, did not participate in the Ifaw report because of concerns it was too sensationalised by mentioning trade in apes and chimpanzees as pets - something he says does not happen in the UK. He added: "The pet trade in this country is mostly small monkeys, particularly marmosets, squirrel monkeys and capuchin monkeys, which sell from £600 to £3,500. "We appreciate the public consultation but would appreciate even more the appliance of common-sense. We believe Jim Knight has the solution at his fingertips."

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