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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

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.