So as you know it is my aim to try and cover as many welfare topics in my blog as I can to spread the word on animal welfare! In order to do this I have asked the brilliant Fran Alsworth to write a blog on her area of expertise! Of course she came up trumps like the star she is, so please have a read and tell the world why primates should never be kept as pets!
Pet Primates: the trade which simply shouldn’t exist
Hello! I’m Fran and I’m currently training to be a Vet at Bristol University. Animals make people unbelievably happy. They are an important part of so many people’s lives and families. It is an honour to learn how to care for them. I have a keen interest in small animal medicine and over the past few years I have been lucky enough to work with and study primates and their behaviour.
What captivates me most about primates is their intelligence and personality. In my eyes, they are part human, part animal, and they are absolutely enchanting to study. This is why the issue of pet primates is one which I feel strongly about. I want to give a voice to a set of species which deserve the utmost respect and protection.
You don’t have to search too hard to find adverts for pet primates within the UK. This trade is currently legal, and unfortunately it is often normalised due to images and videos of cute primates on social media.
There are several issues which arise from the pet primate trade. The first is obtaining and caring for these primates, the second is how detrimental this trade is to conservation efforts.
A recent BBC World Service documentary told of how in order to obtain 1 baby chimpanzee, for example, up to 10 members of its family are killed. Primates are highly intelligent creatures. This experience is extremely harrowing for them, and unsurprisingly many become depressed.
Primates are wild animals. They are not domesticated like cats and dogs are. They require specialised dietary, behavioural and veterinary care. These simply cannot be provided for in a home environment. Often it is not for a lack of want or care that pet primates cease to thrive in captivity, it is because owners cannot provide the highly specialised care which is required.
I also believe that at a time where 60% of primate species are set to die out, (Conservation international) it is essential that we turn our efforts to conserving them within the wild, as opposed to support a trade in them.
The RSPCA and British Veterinary Association are currently lobbying a petition for the UK Government to ban the trade in pet primates. These two highly respected and knowledgeable organisations have made their stance. I believe we should trust the highly informed opinion of two of the top animal organisations in the UK.
What can you do to help? You can sign the RSCPA’s petition here.
I am always open and happy to discuss my views and you can find me on twitter.
Fran Alsworth, Vet Student and budding primatologist
Sending a major thanks to welfare warrior Fran for all her amazing efforts and thanks to you guys for reading this weeks blog and please remember it only takes 1 person to help to change the world!