MONKEY World director Dr Alison Cronin will head to London tomorrow in a bid to change legislation concerning the care of wild animals in the pet trade.
Following years of rescuing and rehabilitating neglected and or abused primates from the British pet trade at the Dorset-based rescue centre, Dr Cronin is set to stand before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee at the Palace of Westminster.
The meeting is being held to review the legislation currently governing the care of these wild animals in the pet trade.
For many years, Monkey World, near Bovington, has been rescuing monkeys from the growing legal trade in keeping primates as pets in Britain.
Over the last two years alone, the centre rescued 26 monkeys of six different species from private homes and pet shops.
Staff at Monkey World claim these numbers show every sign of continuing to increase if the UK laws in their trade remain unchanged.
Dr Cronin said: “Monkey World is an international primate rescue and rehabilitation centre, but more and more we find ourselves being called to rescue and rehabilitate monkeys being kept as pets, legally, in Britain today.
“Some of the worst conditions, from which we have rescued monkeys, are from people’s homes.”
She added: ”Sadly most of these primates are kept by well-meaning but unqualified people who do not know what the needs of their monkeys are.
“Monkeys from the British pet trade come to us in terrible physical and mental condition having been kept in tiny, indoor birdcages, in solitary confinement. And it is not just the monkeys that are suffering.
“Well-meaning individuals are being misled by breeders and dealers as to the needs and longevity of captive monkeys. People are paying thousands of pounds for animals that require specialist care and that will never make good pets.
“The British public are being ripped off by this needless but legal trade.”
There is currently little in the way of legislation protecting the welfare of these wild animals.
Monkey World has collected over 109,400 signatures on a petition to improve the standard of care of primates kept in pet shops, with breeders, or in private homes in the UK.
The rescue centre director was invited to make a presentation with members of the House of Lords at the end of November last year.
Weeks later, the government announced a review of the legislation and Dr Cronin will give evidence, along with five other speakers, at the public meeting tomorrow at 3pm.
The meeting will also be transmitted live via parliamentlive.tv for public viewing.