British Veterinary Association responds to Government’s proposals to ban primates as pets

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) welcomes the news that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a new consultation on proposals to ban the keeping of primates as pets.

The proposals, announced by Defra today (June 20, 2023), call for all primates in England to be kept to zoo-level standards. A four-week consultation is now seeking views on a new licensing scheme for privately owned primates in England and new draft standards for privately kept primate care and management.

British Veterinary Association President Malcolm Morley said: “Primates are long lived, intelligent, socially-complex animals and their needs are so specialised they can rarely be met in a domestic environment. The British Veterinary Association has long called for this to be banned and was deeply concerned when the Kept Animals Bill, which would have tackled this issue, was scrapped last month.

“At first reading, these proposals are a step in the right direction and we are pleased this important issue remains on the agenda. We will be responding directly to the consultation itself and look forward to examining the proposals and results of the consultation in detail. However, we urge the Government to ensure it engages with veterinary and zoological organisations to ensure the welfare and protection of these animals is the top priority of any legislation. These proposals would also only apply to England, so we urge the devolved nations to consider taking similar action towards a ban.”

BVA highlighted the need for a ban on keeping primates as pets in its recent policy position on non-traditional companion animals. Read the position at

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