Primates: Pets

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 22nd October 2018.

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Photo of Roger Godsiff Roger Godsiff Labour, Birmingham, Hall Green

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of banning (a) the keeping of primates as pets and (b) the sale of primates as pets.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip

Keepers of animals including primates must provide for the welfare needs of their animals as required by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. To assist in this regard, there is the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Privately Kept Non-human Primates. Anyone keeping a primate as a pet in a domestic setting, or otherwise causing unnecessary suffering, would be in breach of the 2006 Act and liable to a penalty of six months’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both. The Government has announced that the maximum custodial penalty for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal will rise from six months’ imprisonment to five years’ imprisonment.

As of 1 October new laws were introduced regulating the sale of pets. The new laws provide strict minimum welfare standards for any business selling pets. In addition, Defra has worked with the Pet Advertising Advisory Group on the development of voluntary minimum standards for the online advertising of pets, which now include a prohibition on the sale of primates on five of the main online advertising sites.

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