Is it Cruel to Keep a Pet Monkey? The Truth is Not What You Think

We are all aware of the controversy around keeping pet monkeys. Some people argue that they are not meant to be pets, while others argue that it is cruel to keep a pet monkey.

I have met, talked, and discussed this with many people from both sides, some of which are very strong advocates for their side, and I’ve heard everything there is to hear so I could give you the definitive answer.

So, is it cruel to keep a pet monkey? It is cruel to keep a pet monkey if you are going to stop them from living their normal lives, which is the case for 99% of the people thinking of getting a pet monkey. It’s okay to keep a pet monkey only if you can provide them a better life than they would have in the wild.

I know this answer is probably more complicated than you thought it would be, but it really is the truth. In most cases, it is going to be cruel for you to keep a pet monkey.

To learn why is it cruel for most people to keep a pet monkey and when is it not cruel to keep one, keep reading…

Why is it cruel to keep a pet monkey?

monkey in a cage to show why is it cruel to keep a pet monkey

It is cruel to keep a pet monkey because you are removing them from its natural habitat. They have to live in unnatural conditions, and they don’t get the same benefits as wild monkeys would have.

What does this mean? Here is a simple breakdown;

  • Monkeys were not meant to live in houses, so they can’t enjoy living there like you would imagine them doing – They are constantly stressed about their environment and the fact that they don’t have enough space or natural resources – Their life is miserable because of this constant stress, and it is going to affect their mental and physical health.
  • They don’t get the proper diet they need, so this is another huge disadvantage of keeping a pet monkey – Most people can’t provide them with adequate medical care when they are sick or injured because most owners just aren’t knowledgeable about how monkeys work
  • They don’t get proper exercise. While dogs are okay to Iive in apartments because they are perfectly happy with their daily walks or runs, that’s not true for monkeys. Monkeys need to run, jump and swing between trees, and this is just not feasible in a household.
  • They also don’t have access to the right social interactions they need, which is a huge problem that is rarely talked about – Monkeys are social animals and they need each other’s companionship, so it is cruel for them not to be able to live with their human family without interaction with their counterparts.
  • You are taking away their freedom: Monkeys are wild animals that move around all the time, and by keeping them at homes you are basically holding them as prisoners. Monkeys don’t see our homes as dogs or cats do – which is more like their own home as well – they look at them more like prisons. A comfortable, resource-rich prison but a prison nonetheless.
  • Buying monkeys fuels the illegal exotic pet trade. It fuels the breeding and selling of primate infants, encouraging breeders to continue in their cycle and poachers to continue murdering adult primates so they may sell their young. You should not be a part of this terrible supply and demand trend.
  • Monkey breeding is incredibly cruel. Monkeys are taken from their mothers as newborns (at just a few days old) and sold to humans as pets. Not only is this extremely distressing for the infant, but it is also traumatic for the mother because she will be bred again and again until she dies.
  • Many pet monkeys end up abandoned: As pet monkeys mature, they tend to become aggressive and some even become dangerous. So, many of them end up being surrendered to research facilities, zoos, or rescue groups, and sometimes these institutions don’t have the space or resources for such monkeys so they euthanize them.

So, all these reasons make it look like it is impossible to keep a pet monkey without being cruel, right? Well, that is also not the case. If you truly want to give your pet monkey the best life, then it won’t be cruel, and in fact, can be an upgrade to the monkey and give them some advantages they would never have in the wild.

Let’s discuss this.

When is it not cruel to have a pet monkey?

It is not cruel to keep a monkey as a pet if you can provide your pet monkey with everything they need – which is very hard to do by the way, but it is definitely doable with enough resources.

How? Here is how it can be okay or even good to keep a pet monkey:

  • Give the monkey a better life: This means giving them the right diet, the freshwater, and the supplements they would have a hard time getting in nature on their own or wouldn’t be able to get ever.
  • Give pet mokeys the care they need: You can care for the monkey the way you care for a human child, which is way better than anything they would get in the wild. Giving them a safe and comfy shelter, health care including vaccines and medications, and luxuries like toys will actually help them live longer as monkeys in captivity tend to live longer than their counterparts in the wild because of these things.
  • Give them the space they need: Providing outdoor space with trees and greenery is crucial for imitating the natural life your monkey could have had in the wild.
  • Have them early on: If your monkey knows only you and this life, they would be perfectly happy with it and they will be quite happy adapting to it as they don’t know what other options they have. This seems cruel to you the person reading this as you know but it’s actually better for them to live with this kind of blissful ignorance.

Conclusion: So, should you have a Pet Monkey?

Ultimately, the decision to have a pet monkey or not will depend on you and you alone. If it is legal to have a pet monkey where you live and you can provide the animal with long and happy life, then you can find the experience of living with pet monkeys, although difficult and challenging at times, incredibly rewarding and unique one.

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