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Primate Proposition

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Posted by: bossanimalman at Wed Feb 17 09:33:42 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by bossanimalman ]  

I have been reading this message board for many years now and have noticed that the majority of the people that respond to peoplesí questions are against keeping primates as pets. This is ironic because I thought that the sole purpose of this forum was originally designed for the exotic pet community to talk about their pets. After all, this website is called Exotic Hobbyist. I have always thought of it as a place where people go that are into the hobby of keeping and breeding exotic animals because thatís what they like, not what they donít like. This website has the presupposition that people have the right to private ownership of primates, thus this should not be a forum for the argument that private ownership is in question. Other primate keepers, such as zoo staff, have a double standard in that they believe they should be able to have primates, but private keepers shouldnít. If you are against keeping primates as pets then why are you here in the first place? Itís rude to put someone elseís hobby down when you have no business doing so. I wouldn't go onto a horticulture forum and say that sago palms are the worst plant to have in your front yard. One person described monkeys as disgusting. How could an intelligent human being think a monkey is a disgusting animal when monkeys are among the highest order in the animal kingdom? This shows that this person obviously doesnít like primates so why is their opinion needed here? This personís time and energy could be spent elsewhere; perhaps a hobby of their own. Not to mention the fact that capuchin monkeys are used in the aid of disabled people. Many people who are wheelchair bound their entire lives have nothing to look forward to and having a monkey around brings much joy into their lives. Monkeys are very intelligent and inquisitive creatures that God put on this planet for our dominion and fellowship.

The question ďDo monkeys make good pets?Ē has resurfaced many times over the years on this forum. Personally I have never had one, but my dad has. He read all about monkey ownership before he got Raquel and it was his copy of Monkeys as Pets that turned me on to monkeys. His mom bought him a female weeper capuchin that was wild-caught and imported. Her cage was 6íx6íx6í with a wire bottom that was slightly off the ground. The cage was outside and butted up against the wall of the house right in front of my dadís bedroom window so all he had to do was open his bedroom window and in came Raquel (after Raquel Welch). At first Raquel was very shy, but after constant work, she trusted my dad enough to ride around on his shoulder and interact with him. Over the years he never had any behavioral problems with her. My dad is an exception to most people though because he has always had a special way with animals, a natural ease that they seem to respond to. He's kept everything from monkeys to cobras to kinkajous to coconut crabs. Raymond L. Ditmars said it best; it takes a special breed of person to be a boss animal man. A boss animal man is someone who can adapt himself to anything from an electric eel to a dung beetle to a gorilla. My dad's hands-on experience has educated him about animals as opposed to the knowledge that most people attain from what they see on TV or read on the internet, which is commonly misunderstood.

The question of whether monkeys make good pets depends largely on whether you are an animal person or not. Some people are very good with primates, understand their behavior and have good experiences with them. Then you have the people who in their own ignorance donít know how to handle primates and run into unfortunate circumstances. Next thing you know they are on the internet bashing a hobby that they know nothing about. So before you ask the question "Do monkeys make good pets?" ask yourself this: "Will I make a good primate owner?". Leonore Brandt who wrote Monkeys as Pets and Raccoon Family Pets is a prime example of an animal person. She spent several years working as the curator of the Cincinnati Childrenís Zoo. Having a lot of hands-on experience, a natural ability with animals, and a true love for her animals, she was able to write about successful primate ownership and share it with other primate owners. Animals can sense the "real you" and if the "real you" is a drunken alter ego, than you probably shouldn't be owning any type of animal.

One topic that I find particularly interesting is the ban on primates. The government can ban anything they want, but that isnít going to stop people from doing it. There are always going to be people off the radar that keep animals in secrecy who wonít be affected by a ban. These people know that itís best to keep to themselves. The people that ask permission from wildlife officials are actually raising a red flag. When you ask them if you can keep an exotic pet then their curiosity is aroused and investigations begin. You pretty much ruined your chance of owning any type of exotic animal. There have been many stories of people that have gone through the licensing process thinking they are doing the right thing only to find out that it is a nightmare. Angry wildlife officers can and will show up to your house at any time they please to do random inspections and if they see something they donít like, theyíll find a way to stop you from doing what you love to do. They arenít really concerned with the welfare of the animal. They have a job to do that raises revenue for the government. This is coming from many different sources that each has several years of experience in the exotic animal industry. America is the land of the free and for someone to say I canít keep exotic animals despite the fact that my father and I have several years of combined experience and education, is taking away our freedom which is against the principles of what our nation was founded on. All a wildlife permit is, is a way for the government to keep tabs on everyone who has exotics, to hold power over them, and to rob keepers of money they could otherwise be using to held benefit their animals.

The last subject Iíd like to write about is the business side of the hobby. Why are there so many primates available that sell for thousands of dollars a piece if primates make bad pets? If someone can sell a spider monkey for $12,000 then how could someone even think about buying one if they make such terrible pets? You would think that every primate breeder would go out of business. How can a breeder in Louisiana, for example, afford to run two ranches full time if primates donít sell due to the fact that they supposedly make bad pets? I know the answer. Monkeys don't necessarily make bad pets. The vast majority of people make bad owners and when they realize that owning a monkey is a 40 year commitment, they grow tired of it until the animal goes insane from living in a parrot cage and then they send it off to some primate sanctuary in Florida for someone else to keep it caged up for the rest of its life. Granted they are living with other monkeys, but most former pets aren't used to interacting with other monkeys.

In conclusion, find other people that are into the same hobby as you and seek advice there. Itís best for potential primate owners to formulate their own opinions based on the education of successful primate owners. Taking the advice of someone who has never owned a primate is like taking financial advice from a homeless person. Donít let someone persuade you who you donít know or trust. Find the good people out there that are down to earth and know what theyíre talking about. Ignore the people that have bought monkeys on impulse and donít really take the importance of being a good owner into consideration. There are some parents that raise good children and there are some people that breed and end up with heathens.


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