THE welfare of primates kept as pets in England is to be examined by the government thanks to years of campaigning by Monkey World.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced a call for evidence following a visit to the Dorset rescue centre by a government minister.

Monkey World Director Dr Alison Cronin has been putting pressure on the government for many years and recently hosted Animal Welfare Minister Zac Goldsmith at the park.

She showed him some victims of the trade and the damage it can cause.

One shocking example is the deformed skeleton of Betty-Boo, a common marmoset kept as a pet before rescue, who suffered life inside, cramped in a birdcage with an inappropriate diet, leaving her crippled with severe rickets which bent her spine and femur bones.

For many years Monkey Word has campaigned for a change in the law to protect the 85 species of monkey which can be bought, sold and kept legally in England, without needing a licence, register or welfare checks of any kind.

The call for evidence marks a step in the right direction and has been welcomed by all at Monkey World.

Defra wishes to hear opinions and views on the welfare of primates kept as pets, and the sale and breeding of them.

Dr Cronin explained the abuse and neglect many primates suffer in the pet trade, and implored the public to help during a video appeal with Defra to launch the call for evidence.

Monkey World has rescued 122 primates of 16 species from the UK pet trade, with the most common subject of the trade being the marmoset.

Due to the internet and social media, the unregulated trade has grown with more than 70 rescues in the last 10 years alone, and more than 100 individuals on a waiting list.

The rescue centre has now filled two purpose built houses with victims of the pet trade, and has called upon the government numerous times to help.

A spokesperson for Monkey World has urged members of the public to speak up for the primates and have their say on whether monkeys and apes should be kept as pets.