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Obesity has begun to take its toll on animals after human beings thanks to pizza and burgers. In Britain pet monkeys have succumbed to an obesity epidemic due to couch potato lifestyles, where they have been indulged on unsuitable human foods and not given enough exercise.
There are an estimated 5,000 monkeys kept as pets in the UK. Animal welfare experts have warned that growing numbers of primates are facing problems with their weight, as a result of sugar-rich diets and lack of exercise.
Hayley Dann, from the Wild Futures’ Monkey Sanctuary, said, they are fed on unsuitable human food and kept in small cages and it causes real health problems.
She said that although the monkeys’ weight can be controlled once they are admitted to the sanctuary, many have developed diabetes by that stage.
The most recent study of the size of the country’s pet monkey population was in 2009 and found around 5,000, although others have put the figure at up to 20,000.
The majority are marmosets, tamarins, or squirrel monkeys, which do not require a license.
Some larger species are also kept domestically under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act. Another survey last year found the numbers licensed under the legislation was 339, up 21 per cent on 2009.
The new obesity warning from the experts echoes a plot in The Simpsons cartoon, where Homer gets a monkey called Mojo, who adopts his owner’s unhealthy lifestyle.
It also follows similar warnings about obesity in dogs and cats, as well as in other animals such as pet rabbits, and even horses.