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Primates should not be pets - MP

Monday January 23rd 2012

Monkeys and other primates should not be allowed to be kept as pets because many could be physically and psychologically harmed as a result, an MP has said.

Conservative Sheryll Murray said some primates were given drugs and tobacco and kept in cages which were "ridiculously small".

Ms Murray, who represents South East Cornwall, said around 2,500 to 7,500 primates were pets in England, Wales and Scotland, according to an estimate by the RSPCA and Wild Futures.

Other estimates put the figure at 15,000-20,000, but an exact figure was difficult to ascertain through the lack of registered breeders and the unregulated nature of selling monkeys to private buyers, said Ms Murray. She was supported in her call for a ban by British Veterinary Association president Carl Padgett.

She added that the effects of a lack of socialisation cut deep - 61% of monkeys are kept alone, according to the RSPCA. Effects include high abnormal behaviour levels such as self-mutilation and problems with socialising.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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