UK announces new pet ban

New UK law bans primates as pets

New UK law bans primates as pets. Credit: smutan/

New legislation passed by the Government will affect an estimated 5,000 animals currently being kept as pets in the UK.

On Tuesday, March 5, the UK government announced a revolutionary change, prohibiting the domestication of primates as pets.

This ground-breaking law, effective from April 6, 2026, will require that anyone wishing to keep primates must adhere to stringent welfare and licensing criteria up to zoo-level standards, in effect banning the practice of keeping primates as pets.

Elevating animal welfare

This legislation marks a significant advancement in animal rights, ensuring that only individuals meeting the newly established welfare standards can keep primates.

The initiative aims to enhance the lives of an estimated 5,000 primates currently housed in UK homes. These animals, known for their intricate social and welfare needs, often suffer in inadequate domestic environments.

Stricter regulations for primate keepers

Animal Welfare Minister Lord Douglas-Miller stated, ‘We are proud to have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, including these new restrictions which will help tackle the inadequate conditions that some of these inquisitive creatures are kept in.

‘Anyone who fails to provide the same welfare standards as found in a zoo faces a fine and having the primate removed from their care,’ he added.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will collaborate with local authorities to ensure effective enforcement.

RSPCA applauds the move

The RSPCA has long advocated for better living conditions for primates. David Bowles, the RSPCA Head of Public Affairs, commented, ‘Meeting the needs of monkeys and other primates is practically impossible to do in a household, domestic environment.

‘That’s why this legislation will be a really important moment for animal welfare – ensuring primates can only be kept in an appropriate environment, as we all strive to create a better world for every animal.’

He went on to say; ‘Too often, our dedicated officers are called to properties where monkeys live in the wrong surroundings, eat totally inappropriate diets and are at risk of suffering behind closed doors.’

A milestone in animal welfare legislation

This law is a continuation of the UK’s commitment to animal welfare, following the Action Plan for Animal Welfare unveiled in 2021. The plan includes numerous initiatives, such as recognising animal sentience and imposing harsher penalties for animal cruelty.

The UK remains at the forefront of animal welfare, being the first to introduce animal cruelty offences and ranking as the top G7 nation in the World Animal Protection’s Index. With these measures, the UK strengthens its position as a global leader in animal welfare.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • Ray welbourn

      06 March 2024 • 08:45

      The RSPCA approve the rearing of game birds to be shot out of the sky for the pleasure of so called sporting gentry. Somewhat hypocrital it seems to me.

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