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Primates: Pets

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward legislation to prohibit the keeping, selling, buying and training of primates as pets. (228353)

There are no proposals to introduce legislation to prohibit the keeping, selling, buying and training of primates as pets.

However, as a result of concerns raised during the passage of the Animal Welfare Act through Parliament, the Government intend to introduce a code of practice on the keeping of primates as pets. We are in the process of setting up a working group of experts to consider the standards that should be included in the code. Members include representatives of zoos, primate sanctuaries, specialist vets and private keepers.

The code is intended to help owners and keepers to meet their statutory duty to provide for the welfare needs of their animals. While it will not be a specific offence to fail to comply with the code, it could be used in court as evidence to support a prosecution brought under the Animal Welfare Act. The code will be subject to consultation and approved by Parliament. We hope that the code will come into force next year.