No monkey business...
An advert selling baby monkeys, posted on a popular online trading site, is being investigated by the animal welfare directorate since apes can only be sold by a licensed person, according to law.
This legal principle will soon be extended to all four-legged pets, including puppies and kittens, as new regulations will make it illegal to sell them without a licence.
The monkey sale advert was posted on the website Malta Park and includes a picture of a young monkey listed under the title ‘baby monkeys’ being sold for€40 each.
The Times rang the mobile number displayed on the advert after the directorate confirmed that it was investigating the case. A man on the other end of the line said he never posted the advert, adding it was all “a joke”.
This is not the only online advert promoting monkeys for sale.
A simple Google search revealed other species for sale in Malta, at €250, on the website 4sale.com.mt.
A Rural Affairs Ministry spokesman said that, by law, monkeys could only be kept by approved establishments that were either institutions with a zoo licence or institutes approved for the production and conservation of such species.
“A household cannot be an approved institute,” the spokesman said, adding that the directorate was “looking at the said website (Malta Park) and the said (monkey) case is being investigated”.
Can people sell their common pets online?
The spokesman said this was only restricted in the case of dogs so far, but things would change when new regulations on the protection of animals offered in pet shops, currently in draft form, came into force.
The regulations will soon be published in the Government Gazette.
Regulations on dog breeding stipulate that those who breed more than four litters a year require a special licence.
There is no specific legislation regulating the breeding and sale of cats for the time being.
“Once the regulations are out, it will be against the law to sell pets online.
“The sale of pets may only be allowed from pet shops or licensed breeders,” the spokesman explained.
Under the new regulations, no trader may stock, keep, sell or offer for sale any animal without a licence from the veterinary services. An additional licence would be required in the case of exotic animals.
“These regulations will further strengthen the legislation in force with regard to the online trade in pet animals, because pets may only be sold from licensed pet shops,” the spokesman said.
There is an exception for a limited number of bird species that may be sold in open markets or street markets, provided that certain animal welfare conditions are satisfied.