As animal rights extremists seek to end all private ownership of primates, one expert and owner of a monkey sanctuary is urging both the public and politicians to reconsider these harsh measures.
Michael Robison, owner of the Small Primate Animal Rescue TN (SPARTN), knows more about the bad parts of the exotic pet trade than most. As a primate expert and owner of a monkey rescue, he is often taking in animals that people bought without being properly prepared or educated on the reality of caring for these complex creatures.
— Michael Robison (@MichaelRobison) September 16, 2021
SPARTN’s main goals, according to their website, are “to educate and expose the public to the facts and truths about the improper care, abuse and exploitation of these small primates across the United States” and “ending the abuse of isolation and breeding mills focused on the improper exploitation of the pet trade.”
So, it may be surprising to some that unlike those at the deceptively-named People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or other so-called “animal rights” organizations, Robison believes that the way to solve improper primate ownership is through education — not bans.
The Captive Primate Safety Act would amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 and ban private ownership of primates. It is already illegal to import them, so the vast majority in the US are born and bred right here, by private owners and zoos.
As someone who also shares my home with a monkey, one of the hardest parts is attempting to find a source of reliable information on husbandry. Most links, when you search for anything regarding pet primates, are astroturfed articles from activist groups claiming that it is “cruel” to keep animals in captivity. By making real information on primate husbandry impossible to track down, it increases the odds of people providing improper or inadequate care. Fortunately, knowing people like Robison and other primate experts, I was able to spend quite a long time picking their brains and preparing. Others may not have that luxury.
Robison is launching an effort to solve this problem by creating educational programs and certification training that he hopes people will use before taking the major step of bringing a monkey into their home. This would both show people the difficult reality of primates and help to make sure that those who do adopt or purchase one are prepared to give them the best possible care.
“We began as a place of hope and help for primates who were raised by humans, but are displaced, abused or abandoned. The need is beyond HUGE. There are more than 15,000 primates being kept in private captivity in the US alone. Unfortunately many of those private owners have not been supported, educated and resourced well enough to ensure a full, safe and good life,” Robison wrote.
“SPARTN has chosen to build a unique ecosystem to serve, support and ensure the wellbeing of primates, their humans companions and the future of ownership rights in the United States. We want to put an end to the cases and reason activist groups are fighting to remove ownership and companionship rights by supporting and impacting available learning, support and resources to support proper and healthy ownership rights!” SPARTN’s statement continued.
Robison has already spoken to many breeders who say that they would be willing to require people take the training before making a sale — something that would be a massive step in helping to address the concerns of those who worry primates do not receive adequate care in human captivity.
Currently, SPARTN’s goal is to raise $175,000 in order to construct a new spider monkey habitat, a howler monkey habitat, a patas monkey program development and complete the development of their Ownership and Husbandry Educational Program. According to their fundraising page, funds will be used for construction, permitting, veterinary care, nutrition, and material development.
“Our advisory team, which includes some of the top zoologists and habitat specialists in the world, are dedicated to providing and creating the best environment for the Monkeys in our care. We are also focused on developing and creating the world’s first standard in husbandry and care for primates raised in captivity. We are truly working to change the future,” the fundraiser description explains.
Many primate owners agree that the welfare of these incredible animals must be protected, and even support mandatory training and permits — just not outright bans.
“Private ownership and care of these animals is a right that should be preserved and protected. But, in a manner that protects the animals and guarantees their welfare. It would be ideal if there was required training and experience in every state, just as there is in Florida,” a woman who owns two spider monkeys, but asked not to be named to avoid harassment from PETA, told the Gateway Pundit.
While animal rights organizations and their supporters constantly argue that these captive-born and raised animals belong in the “wild,” and that is a lovely thought, it is not the reality of the world we live in. Even if captive bred monkeys did have the instincts and survival skills necessary, human population growth and deforestation has severely lessened the amount of “wild” habitat left out there. Many monkeys that are currently being bred in the United States are endangered, some dangerously close to extinction, in the “wild” because there simply isn’t much “wild” left for them to live in. The areas that do exist are frequently targeted by poachers.
Another primate owner explained, “monkeys that are born and bred in captivity cannot just be released into the jungle. Even if their natural habitats weren’t already severely diminished, they do not have the skills required of wild monkeys. When activists and well-meaning animal lovers say that these animals ‘belong in the wild,’ they are unknowingly saying they belong dead.”
Those who wish to donate to SPARTN’s effort can do so here. The organization is a registered 501c3, so contributions are tax deductible.
You can learn more about SPARTN and what they do here.
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