MPs have ruled out a ban on keeping primates as pets…Wha..?
… until the government has better figures on how many apes and monkeys are kept in British homes.They don’t know if there’s a problem, but they were considering a ban? Lovely!
More & more, we are moving to the continental model, where it’s no longer a case that if there’s no law against something, you are free to do it.
This is, of course, driven by the animal rights crowd and those who see a role for themselves in any increased legislation, including the usual suspects:
The RSPCA estimates there are 3,000 to 9,000 primates being kept as pets in the UK, but that figure may be rising due to the ease of buying the animals over the internet.
"There is an alarming lack of regulation around the sale of primates and this makes it incredibly difficult to monitor," said Ros Clubb at the RSPCA.
"Primates have very complex needs and the level of suffering is high if these requirements are not met. In short primates are wild animals that cannot have their needs met in a household environment. They are not pets.
"Specialist expert knowledge and facilities are required to look after primates properly, which the vast majority of people lack. This is illustrated by the increase in the number of convictions for cruelty to primates we have recorded," Clubb said.System working, then? People who are cruel to primates, as with any other pet, are prosecuted. So what’s the problem?
Philip Mansbridge from Care for the Wild said: "The report says that there are a lot of unknowns: we don't know how many primates are kept as pets, we don't know how well they are kept, we don't know if existing legislation is working.
"But deep down, we do know one thing: that monkeys, chimpanzees and other primates ultimately are not objects for us to own. And that information alone should be enough to settle this debate once and for all. "The debate is settled! Phillip has spoken!
"It's true that currently under the Animal Welfare Act, pet owners must supply a suitable environment for an animal and allow it to exhibit normal behaviour.
"But no matter how you cut it, monkeys should be swinging in the trees with their family, not stuck in someone's back yard in Birmingham.
"We need to stop thinking about whether we can look after primates as pets, and start wondering whether we should. And frankly, we shouldn't. "A lot of the ‘Royal We’ there, Philip? Who are you to determine this?
"The fact that no-one knows how many there are just illustrates a key part of the problem. I understand there are fears that by banning primates as pets, it would drive this activity underground. But if we don't know how many there are, it's already underground."Well, no. That’s not what ‘underground’ means. If it’s driven underground, there will be more potential for cruelty rather than less. At the moment, primate owners will take sick animals to vets (sometimes travelling miles for specialist vets). If it truly goes underground…they won’t.
And make no mistake – the ‘animals are slaves’ crowd aren’t going to stop here.
First they came for the marmosets. Next…parrots? And then…your cat?