It is a step in the right direction as the incredibly popular company and website UNILAD has agreed to add a disclaimer to any future videos that they share of pet primates. After many emails, tweets and messages, UNILAD – which at the time of writing has some 29,078,313 likes on Facebook – agreed to add a disclaimer.
The disclaimer reads:
“This video depicts a pet primate. Primates are not suitable pets- they are wild animals and require highly specialised captive care. For further information on why they are not suitable to be kept as pets, please see:
Keeping primates as pets is a topical issue at the moment, as the RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association are currently lobbying a petition to make the pet primate trade illegal in the UK (which you can sign here).
It is important to realise that the sharing of videos of pet primates, which may initially seem cute or funny, is highly detrimental to their conservation, because it normalises a trade which simply shouldn’t exist. Primates require a highly specialised array of dietary, behavioural and veterinary care, which cannot be provided in a home environment. There are a host of issues stemming from this detrimental trade. In a recent documentary by the BBC World Service, it was revealed that in order to obtain a baby chimpanzee for the pet trade, up to 10 members of its family are killed. At a time where approximately 60% of primate species are set to die out (Conservation international), it is essential that we turn our effort to conserving them within the wild, and not support a trade in them.
By persuading UNILAD to add a disclaimer to their videos, hopefully it will mean that people challenge what they are watching and realise that keeping primates as pets isn’t right. It is great to see such an influential company using their material wisely and hopefully others will follow suit.
What can you do to help?
-Spread the word- if your friends or family tag you in a video of a pet primate, explain why it is wrong.
-If you are willing to, it can be useful to comment on videos depicting pet primates, explaining why the trade is so harmful. Be prepared! There will be people who disagree with your point of view, so be wary of this.
-Read Ben Garrod’s fantastic article on the topic here.
Fran Alsworth- Vet student and former president of the University of Bristol Roots and Shoots Society (UBRAS)
Find me on Twitter: @franalsworth or follow UBRAS on Facebook