Urgent action is required to establish the numbers of primates kept in captivity by private individuals across the UK and to improve their welfare. Little is known about the types and numbers of primates being kept or traded by private individuals in the UK and about the manner in which they are being kept. A ban is not ruled out, but such a step must be based on solid evidence and cannot be imposed before every opportunity to improve the operation of our existing framework has been exhausted. Defra should commission independent research to establish the extent of the problems in this area and to report with a plan of action within six months of receiving the research results.
The Government must ensure that standards for primates kept in private match those required in zoos. The quality of care that these animals enjoy should be the same whether they are kept in a circus, a pet shop, a private home or a zoo. If the Committee's suggested changes prove insufficient and the evidence for doing so proves compelling, then a ban on the trade and keeping of privately kept primates should remain an option for the future. Primates as Pets also calls for the Government to: ensure that legislation governing pet sales is fit for the internet age; boost public awareness of existing regulatory controls and guidance; increase the utility and efficacy of the Primate Code; expedite Primates as Pets of guidance to local authorities on the Dangerous Wild Animals Act.