MONKEY World director Dr Alison Cronin will be giving evidence to a House of Commons select committee today, as Parliament looks to review legislation governing the care of primates in the legal British pet trade.
Dr Cronin, who has spent more than two decades rescuing neglected monkeys and apes from across the United Kingdom, is set to be quizzed by MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.
She says many of the monkeys coming from the British pet trade are found to be in “terrible physical and mental condition” having been kept in tiny, indoor birdcages in solitary confinement.
“Monkey World is an international primate rescue and rehabilitation centre, but more and more we find ourselves being called to rescue and rehabilitate monkeys being kept as pets, legally, in Britain today,” said Dr Cronin.
Over the past two years staff at the Wool ape rescue centre have rescued 26 monkeys, from six different species, from private homes and pet shops across the country.
Dr Cronin said: “Some of the worst conditions, from which we have rescues monkeys, are from people's homes.
“Sadly most of these primates are kept by well-meaning but unqualified people who do not know what the needs of their monkeys are.”
But, according to Dr Cronin, it is not just the monkeys that are suffering. “Well-meaning individuals are being misled by breeders and dealers as to the needs and longevity of captive monkeys,” she said.
“People are paying thousands of pounds for animals that require specialist care and that will never make good pets.
“The British public are being ripped off by this needless but legal trade.”
The select committee will hear evidence from a range of animal welfare and primate experts from 3pm. Dr Cronin is scheduled to give her evidence from 3.30pm.