By Matthew Barrett
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Yesterday, Sheryll Murray, the Member for South East Cornwall, introduced her Keeping of Primates As Pets (Prohibition) Bill.
The aim of the Bill is to:
"prohibit the keeping of primates as pets in the United Kingdom and the breeding, sale and purchase of primates; to introduce breed-specific codes of practice for the keeping of primates in animal sanctuaries and for species conservation; and for connected purposes."
Mrs Murray introduced her Bill:
"I present this Bill to the House today on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. I refer to non-human primates, most commonly referred to as monkeys. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Wild Futures estimate that between 2,500 and 7,500 primates are kept as pets in England, Wales and Scotland, but others suggest the number might be as high as 15,000 to 20,000. Owing to the lack of registered breeders and the unregulated nature of selling monkeys to private buyers, it is very difficult to come up with an exact figure."
She explained why keeping primates as pets is cruel:
"However, the RSPCA has confirmed that 61% of incidents involved primates being housed alone. The effects of a lack of socialisation are profound. These include high levels of abnormal behaviours such as self-mutilation and difficulties socialising. Furthermore, cutting off the period in which young primates are dependent on their mothers is known to have long-lasting negative psychological and physiological effects. The Monkey Sanctuary informed me that common repetitive behaviours are classic in ex-pets. Examples include pacing, head twisting, teeth grinding, rocking and overeating. Primates also require a high level of specialist care to provide for their complex needs."
Mrs Murray then presented the Bill, which will be read for a Second time on Friday 30th March.
The full session can be read in Hansard here.