Welsh Government urged by RSPCA to ban primates as pets following consultation launched in England last week.
RSPCA Cymru has urged the Welsh Government to ban primates as pets in Wales following an eight-week consultation launched in England for the same matter.
The charity has long opposed the practice in Wales where estimates suggest approximately 120 primates are kept as pets, but there are concerns about a lack of accurate data as more monkeys could be unaccounted for.
Polling found 72 per cent in Wales support a ban, to which the RSPCA suggest either bringing forward their own ban or putting forward a consent memorandum to the Welsh Parliament if a new law materialises in England, essentially applying it to Wales as well.
David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs, said: “It’s great news that the UK Government is consulting on a ban on the keeping of primates as pets in England – but it’s so important that Wales doesn’t fall behind.
“RSPCA Cymru has long campaigned for a ban on the keeping of primates as pets in Wales – but sadly estimates suggest some 120 are currently kept, and we fear the problem could be even more widespread.
“We call on the Welsh Government to further the nation’s animal welfare agenda by implementing a ban on the keeping and trade of monkeys and other primates kept as pets – either by bringing forward their own proposals; or putting a consent motion forward to the Welsh Parliament so any new law or regulation in England can apply to Wales too.”
In 2016, an emaciated marmoset was found roaming the streets of Newport with a fractured pelvis where, on veterinary advice, the monkey had to be put to sleep.
In 2017, a marmoset was rescued by RSPCA from a house in Swansea where the primate was being kept loose in the living room.
In 2018, 14 incidents in Wales were reported to the RSPCA involving a primate whilst a further 15 were reported in 2019.
Dr Ros Clubb, RSPCA wildlife expert, said: “Sadly, RSPCA officers often deal with monkeys found in wholly inappropriate domestic conditions – highlighting how the current situation where they are easily bought just isn’t tenable.
“It’s essentially impossible to properly meet the needs of primates in the domestic, home environment – so we have long called for a ban.
“While the RSPCA has been pleased to undertake ongoing work with the Animal Welfare Network for Wales on a code of practice for the keeping of pet primates, an outright ban on this practice has always been the RSPCA’s aim.
“At least 15 countries across Europe have already acted on this issue, and with England consulting on a ban too it’s clearly time for the Welsh Government to take action and ensure monkeys can no longer be acquired or kept as pets in Wales – with their welfare sadly at risk at the moment.”
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