Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI and The Monkey Sanctuary call for rethink on delisting primates from the DWWA

Posted: 29 May 2007


ADI and The Monkey Sanctuary are calling for a rethink by the Government of the delisting of smaller primates (woolly lemurs, tamarins, night (or owl) monkeys, titis and squirrel monkeys) from the Dangerous Wild Animals Act (DWWA), particularly as they can be a danger to children and the 1976 Act is intended as a public safety measure.

Tim Phillips, ADI Campaigns Director, said: “We are very disappointed to see a number of species including several species of monkeys, racoons, and kinkajou, will be removed from the Dangerous Wild Animals Act this week.

“In welfare terms this is a retrograde step, leaving these animals with comparable status to domestic pets and with little or no welfare protection until the Animal Welfare Act is fully implemented. There are strong calls for the complete prohibition of the keeping of primates as pets, so to reduce the protection that they have at this stage is extremely unhelpful.”

“The animals have been removed because they are no longer considered dangerous. However, it is quite clear that animals such as owl and squirrel monkeys, raccoons, and coatis could deliver a nasty bite, particularly to a small child. And it should be remembered that these are wild animals, they are not domesticated, and therefore suffer a great deal when kept as pets.”

Rachel Hevesi of The Monkey Sanctuary Trust, agreed: “We are disheartened that the Government has decided to remove several species of primate from the DWAA Schedule. This decision, in our opinion, runs counter to the stated Government view that primates do not make suitable pets (Ben Bradshaw MP, Hansard, col. no. 156 19/01/06).”

“We understand that the Government believes that the welfare aspects of the DWAA will be provided by the new Animal Welfare Act (AWA). We look forward to the implementation of the AWA, however, the primate specific Codes of Practice will not be available until April 2008 at the earliest. This makes the de-listing of these primates, at the very best, premature, and at the worst, it signals to the general public that some primates may be kept with as little caution as a cat or a dog. Yet primates are not domesticated and, even when captive-born, remain wild animals.”

“At present it appears that the Government has no intention of introducing any other form of licensing or registration for primates in private ownership. This means that there is no way of checking on the welfare and safety standards for the majority of the estimated 3,000 primates in the UK, or their owners.”
In view of the lack of regulation protecting primates and people, ADI and The Monkey Sanctuary urge the Government to review the changes to the DWAA.

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For The Monkey Sanctuary, please contact: Rachel Hevesi, The Monkey Sanctuary, Looe, Cornwall, England, PL13 1NZ Tel/Fax: 01503 262532
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(No. 1437) Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) Order 2007 laid before Parliament

This modification order to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 is a statutory instrument (SI) that has gone before Parliament this week and will go before the Lords to consider its merits and the policy issues it raises before becoming law in 40 days.

What the order changes:

This Order adds the following animals to the Schedule: the Argentine Black-headed snake, the Peruvian racer, the South American green racer, the Amazon false viper, the Middle eastern thin-tailed scorpion and the dingo.

The following animals are no longer listed in the Schedule and so the provisions of the Act no longer apply to them: certain smaller primates (woolly lemurs, tamarins, night (or owl) monkeys, titis and squirrel monkeys), sloths, the North American porcupine, the capybara, crested porcupines; cacomistles, racoons, coatis, olingoes, the little coatimundi, kinkajou, binturong, cat hybrids which are predominantly domestic cat, hyraxes, guanaco, vicuna, emus, sand snakes, mangrove snakes, and the Brazilian wolf spider.

Why the changes:

Defra states in its explanatory notes to the statutory instrument (SI) that the review of the DWWA Act highlighted the fact that it needed updating and revision especially as it was poorly enforced with wide-spread non-compliance. A number of the species listed were considered to be no more dangerous than common domestic pets, which undermined the Act’s credibility.

Defra admits the de-listings may have the effect of weakening the welfare protection given to these animals as animal welfare was not a listing criteria for the Act. The 1976 Act is intended as a public safety measure for species listed in the Act as being dangerous.

Click here for more information on primates as pets

Click here for an overview of our My Mate’s a primate campaign

Declaration calls for European Primate Test Ban

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