Monkeys In Movies
The RSPCA is increasingly concerned about this new fashion. Figures on the
Many pet primates will live for decades and there are examples of some capuchin monkeys living into their 50s, which means that they require long-term care. Taken from their mothers at an early age to live alone in small cages, often without access to the outdoors, many primates kept as pets will suffer acute psychological distress. Once these ‘pet’ primates reach adolescence and attempt to assert themselves, they become aggressive. The ‘loving’ owners then have had their teeth filed or pulled out and their claws removed to make them less dangerous.
Every time a primate is used in television or film, we receive an influx of calls to our sanctuary asking us how to acquire one as a pet. The use of non-human primates as 'actors' would suggest to the viewer that they can live alongside people, that they can be dressed up, trained to perform amusing tricks and can be manipulated to entertain us. This leads to a distorted image whereby they become viewed as domestic companion animals, rather than the wild animals that they are.
One early series of the sitcom Friends that featured a pet monkey saw interest in owning a primate increase, while the
"There is more of a trend for people to keep unusual pets," said Ros Clubb, a scientific officer in the RSPCA's wildlife department. "Primates are the latest part of that. A lot of people will see them as cute and quite human. Some see them almost like a replacement child. They put them in nappies and dress them up." “The position we take with primates is that you should never have them as pets," Clubb said.
Owning primates as pets is already banned in many countries, including