Monkey pet trade petition taken to Downing Street

A baby marmoset in a small cage Image copyright Monkey World
Image caption Dr Cronin said "well-meaning but ignorant" people were trying to keep monkeys in bird cages

A petition calling for an end to the suffering of monkeys bought as pets has been handed in at Downing Street.

Monkey World ape rescue centre in Dorset has rescued 100 primates from the British pet trade, half of which have been in the last five years.

It wants owners to be forced to provide the same level of care as zoos.

Centre director Dr Alison Cronin was joined by musician Peter Gabriel and South Dorset MP Richard Drax to hand over more than 110,000 signatures.

Image caption Campaigners travelled to Downing Street in London to hand in the petition

Dr Cronin said, despite building two facilities to house more than 50 "pet" monkeys - including marmosets, tamarins, capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, a saki monkey, and a lemur - the rescue centre was now full and had a waiting list.

'Out of control'

She said: "There is also a very tragic human side to this story as many well-meaning, but ignorant, people are buying these wild animals, at vast expense, from unscrupulous breeders, animal dealers and pet shops that are taking advantage and telling people it is OK to keep a monkey in solitary confinement, in a bird cage, in their sitting room.

"It is tragic and out of control."

Monkey World is home to over 250 primates of more than 20 different species and is the largest primate rescue operation in the world.

Image copyright Monkey World
Image caption Marmosets are among the so-called "pets" that have been rescued from homes in the UK

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