18th November 2020

In October 2020, Freedom for Animals went undercover in one of Manchester's biggest pet shops. Our investigator was shocked to find two cages containing marmosets for sale. Both cages were only around 3m³, with six individuals locked inside them.

Marmosets are the most commonly kept and traded primate as pets, although capuchins, lemurs and squirrel monkeys continue to be held captive in households throughout the UK. It is estimated that up to a staggering 9,000 primates may be being kept privately as pets in the UK.

One cage contained a notice stating that the two babies present had already been sold, meaning they would soon be ripped from their mother and moved to an unknown private collection. Those yet to be born were also destined for a life of captivity. 

Common marmosets are native to the tropical rainforests of South America, a far cry from a tiny cage in a Manchester suburb. Primates have complex needs which can never be met in a domestic environment.

In their election campaign, the Conservatives pledged to ban the keeping and trading of primates as pets. Almost twelve months on, however, and thousands of primates are still languishing in pet shops and private houses. Zac Goldsmith recently commented that the government is 'taking steps to ban primates as pets', yet a ban can't come soon enough.

Freedom for Animals' Director, Sam Threadgill, commented:

It is greatly upsetting that these intelligent, complex and highly social animals continue to be bought and sold as pets. Freedom for Animals strongly urges Zac Goldsmith to make good his promise to ban this devastating practice.

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