Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

Call to end the monkey pet trade - call backed by stars

Posted: 8 June 2005

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is calling on the government to stop monkeys being kept as pets in the UK. A campaign postcard unveiled this week calls on Secretary of State Margaret Beckett MP to ensure that the current review of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, and the Government’s proposed Animal Welfare Bill due out in the autumn, are used to halt the trade in pet monkeys and the use of animals in traveling circuses.

ADI hope that the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will have received tens of thousands of protest postcards from supporters of the campaign by the time that the Animal Welfare Bill is discussed by parliament in November.

The move is part of the ADI ‘My Mate’s a Primate’ campaign launched last week by Alexei Sayle, and backed by stars including Brian Blessed, Jenny Seagrove, Helen Chamberlain, Wendy Turner-Webster, Celia Hammond, Benjamin Zephaniah, Mark Radcliffe, and Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay.

The trade in rare and exotic animals has become a huge global business, valued at $12 billion a year. Europe is one of the world’s largest markets for wildlife and wildlife products, with demand for pets, fashion accessories, ornaments and medicines. Smuggling wildlife, including many endangered species, is now the third largest illegal cross-border activity after the arms and drug trades. Poachers are stealing an estimated 38 million animals a year from Brazil’s Amazon forests.

Ironically baby chimpanzees, orangutans and small monkeys are popular as pets ¬ simply because they resemble human babies. The object of the human owner’s affection has suffered the pain of being torn from his or her mother for a life of isolation from their own kind. Whatever the love being lavished on the pet, they will be emotionally damaged, and will grow from cute baby to unruly teenager, and on to become a maladjusted, physically powerful adult. When the human owner realises this, it’s time to throw out the baby. These monkeys and apes provide humans with company, but they are utterly alone, and all too often, as disposable as the nappy in which they were once dressed.

Tim Phillips, Campaigns Director of ADI says: “I’ve seen inside dealers where monkeys are captured and sold as pets, with their rows of desperate young monkeys, chained by the neck, or huddled in tiny filthy cages. They might try and sell these animals as surrogate children, but this is not a loving industry. Pet primates live a life of isolation and are denied everything that is natural to them.”
“My mate’s a primate is yet another potent and imaginative campaign from Animal Defenders International helping to highlight the plight of some of our primate relatives. I fully endorse the campaign and all the work they do. Keep it up guys. The world’s wildlife would be at even greater risk without you”.
Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2 Presenter of the Mark Radcliffe Show.

“I’d like to wish Animal Defenders International the best of luck with their new campaign. Protecting primates from abuse and the very real danger of extinction is a cause that deserves support and attention from the media and public alike.”
Jamiroquai’s ¬Jay Kay, singer songwriter popstar.

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