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Rt. Hon. Lord Goldsmith; [email protected]

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PETITION TARGET: Rt. Hon. Lord Goldsmith and the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

UPDATE (4/15/2021): Lady Freethinker sent your 32,855 signatures to the United Kingdom’s Lord Goldsmith and the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), demanding an end to the horrific abuse suffered by wild primates kept as pets.

Fareeha Abid, with DEFRA, responded via email on April 9 and said the agency is actively working on a policy approach to ban the practice.

“Primates have complex welfare needs which cannot be met in a home environment,” she said.

DEFRA put out a public consultation on proposals to tackle the issue, which ended in February and received about 4,500 responses. The government will be making additional announcements in the future, Abid said.

We will continue to monitor this issue in the United Kingdom and will update you when the ban is enacted and enforced. Thank you so much to all those who signed our petition in support of allowing primates to live their lives peacefully in the wild environments they need and deserve.


Ripped from their mothers as babies, crammed into tiny wire bird cages, fed sugar that rots their teeth, and forced to spend their entire lives in solitary confinement, wild monkeys kept as pets in the United Kingdom are suffering in silence.

The country’s animal welfare laws have few protection for the primates, which include marmosets, lemurs, capuchins, and squirrel monkeys.  The wild monkeys can be purchased online, from breeders, or in pet stores without any background inspections — with estimates of at least 5,000 wild monkeys currently suffering in captivity. 

The highly-social, intelligent animals, who need large amounts of room to run and play, often go to their new homes in inadequate housing and with incorrect care instructions — setting the stage for the anguish that will mar the rest of their lives.

Monkeys rescued from captivity often have a host of problems, including pacing, self-biting, teeth grinding, and repetitive hugging and rocking themselves for comfort due to the stress and trauma they endured .

But now there is new hope. The country’s government is looking to ban private ownership of primates— an important move that would stop the brutal practice of keeping monkeys in captivity for people’s pleasure.

The proposal would limit guardianship of monkeys to those who have an official zoo license or who obtain a specialist private primate keeper license to ensure proper standards of welfare, backed by possible civil and criminal penalties for those who violate the proposed law.

At least 15 European countries already have banned pet ownership of primates.  A 2014 YouGov survey showed 75% of polled Brits supported a ban, as does the British Veterinary Association. 

And the Rt. Hon. Lord Zac Goldsmith, the UK’s minister for animal welfare, already has noted that keeping these socially complex animals in solitary confinements makes their lives a “misery.”

Sign this petition encouraging the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs and the UK’s legislative leaders to propose and pass this important legislation banning private ownership of primates and so help stop the monkeys’ suffering in silence.