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Make the Year of the Monkey matter for primates

Released to press on 08 February 2016

As Chinese New Year commences (8 February), animal welfare charity OneKind is stepping up its calls for a ban on the keeping and trading of thousands of primates as pets in an effort to make the Year of the Monkey really count for primates.

An estimated 5,000 primates, such as marmosets and squirrel monkeys, are kept as pets in the UK with around 100 of these believed to be in Scotland. The Year of the Monkey is thought to be unlucky for those born in a ‘monkey’ year, however OneKind along with a number of UK-wide organisations, including the British Veterinary Association (BVA), RSPCA, The Born Free Foundation, Captive Animals’ Protection Society, Four Paws, and Wild Futures, will be taking every opportunity over the next twelve months to ensure this is a lucky year for primates in Scotland and the UK.

OneKind Director Harry Huyton said: "Primates are social animals with highly complex needs which simply can't be met in a domestic environment. Even owners who have the best of intentions are subjecting their 'pets' to a life of suffering.

"As the Year of the Monkey commences OneKind is urging the Scottish Government to consider an outright ban on the keeping of primates as pets and set a positive example to other UK administrations.”

The Scottish Government is committed to reviewing the exotic pet trade while in Westminster, the UK government has announced it will review the Code of Practice for privately kept primates in 2016. Both these moves could provide an opportunity to move towards banning the trade and ownership of monkeys as pets. 15 European countries have already introduced a ban on keeping primates as pets, of either all or some species .

To add your voice and help #ProtectPrimates, sign the coalition’s petition at


Notes to editor:

* OneKind is a Scottish animal welfare charity based working to end animal suffering everywhere through campaigns, research and education.

* To sign the petition visit: #ProtectPrimates

* The keeping and trade of primates as pets is a devolved issue. The Scottish Government, Northern Ireland Executive, Westminster Government and Welsh Government are responsible for the relevant legislation in their respective countries.

* Figures for total number of pet primates in the UK taken from Wild Futures and RSPCA ‘Primates as pets: Is there a case for regulation?’

For further information or photographs please contact Sarah Moyes on 0131 661

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