||<p>There is no doubt that primates are complex creatures requiring specialist care.
I recently met with the owner of a leading specialist primate rescue centre who informed
me about the rising numbers they are having to take from private care. Given these
issues I am looking at the options for banning the trade altogether.</p><p> </p><p>In
the meantime, we have strict laws in place restricting the keeping of primates and
action can be taken if a primate is being kept in poor welfare conditions. Under the
Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to an
animal or to fail to provide for its welfare.</p><p> </p><p>The 2006 Act is backed
up by the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Privately Kept Non-human Primates
that provides essential information for any primate keeper on how to meet the welfare
needs of the primates in their care. The Code is made under the 2006 Act and can be
used as evidence in court in support of a prosecution made under the 2006 Act.</p><p>
</p><p>If anyone has any concerns about the way a primate is being kept they should
report to the relevant local authority, who have powers to investigate such issues,
or to the RSPCA who can also investigate and take action.</p><p> </p><p>In addition
to the animal welfare controls, the keeping of most primates requires a licence under
the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (DWAA), which is issued by a local authority.
The DWAA licence is primarily to ensure public safety is protected.</p><p> </p><p>The
trade of primates is regulated through a Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES) licensing system. Under this system, the international, commercial
trade of the most endangered primates is prohibited, except under exceptional circumstances.
Whilst it is not in itself a welfare measure, CITES does contain welfare provisions
for the transport, keeping and moving of animals, including primates.</p>