Monkey trouble: The plight of primates behind closed doors

A new campaign has been launched to highlight the ongoing welfare concerns of monkeys and other primates kept confined and isolated in homes right across Britain. 

An estimated 5,000 primates are kept as pets in the UK and rescue groups such as Wild Futures and the RSPCA receive approximately one call a week relating to the welfare of a monkey or other primate.

Marmosets, capuchins and squirrel monkeys are just some of our closest relatives that are kept as domestic pets. However, primates are regarded as complex and highly intelligent animals, needing specialist care and attention, spacious living environments and not to mention, plenty of their fellow kin around for company.

These necessary living conditions are very difficult to meet in the home environment and welfare group Wild Futures believe that the cases of suffering they encounter on a frequent basis are just the tip of the iceberg.

Director at Wild Futures Rachel Hevesi said: ‘We witness the effects of this cruel and unnecessary trade on a daily basis. Every primate that we have rescued has arrived with physical and/or psychological damage. It can take years of intensive care for them to recover.’

RSPCA staff officer, Inspector Simon Osbourne said: ‘The large coalition of organisations that are calling for an end to the keeping and trade of primates for pets reflects what an urgent issue this has become.’

‘We find them living in bird cages, being fed sugary drinks and sweets and living in filthy conditions. Even when the owner has good intentions the animals’ needs are not being met because primates are so difficult to keep and it is extremely complicated to ensure their welfare needs are being met.’

 To join the campaign and sign the petition to #ProtectPrimates, please visit