Primates in Parliament

animal behaviour, animal welfare, bill oddie, wild futures, kingston maurward college, dorchesterJoining MPs and celebrities, Kingston Maurward College Foundation Degree in Animal Behaviour & Welfare students travelled to parliament recently for the controversial debate against people keeping primates as pets.

Organised by leading primate charity, Wild Futures, the event aimed to raise awareness of the charity’s cause and ultimately persuade Westminster that an outright ban on primate pet ownership should be enforced in the UK.

Wild Futures estimates that between 5,000-20,000 primates – including tamarinds, squirrel monkeys, marmosets, lemurs, capuchin and chimpanzees – are being kept as pets in this country, many of which are abused and neglected, the charity claims.

During the event students were delighted that leading conservationist and TV personality Bill Oddie, shunned the press to speak to them. He spoke to them at length about their course, the College, and Operation Wallacea – an international organisation that helps students work in the conservation industry across the world.

Whilst MPs concluded that there was insufficient evidence to change current legislation about primates as pets, the students found the experience invaluable.

Wild Futures ambassador and Kingston Maurward tutor, Lee Read, said: “Our students learn about legislation in their course, so this conference was a great way to demonstrate the process in action; and it was inspiring for us to be with like-minded people discussing a topic we’re all passionate about.”

Picture: Kingston Maurward College Foundation Degree in Animal Behaviour & Welfare students with Bill Oddie in Parliament.

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