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Dark web: Inside U.K's monkey trade in UK

By Alex Nimoy July 7, 2021, 3:34 p.m.

Several monkeys are being kept hostage in Britain. Monkey Trade in UK leads to Some that can only stretch within tubes when going for food or to see their owners.

Monkey Trade in UK

Most people are only aware of "monkey trade", not knowing that there is monkey trade.  In fact, the latter is so dominant in the U.K that the government in 2020 banned the trade of primates.

Keeping a monkey in the U.K is allowed, yes, but suppliers of these pets know that their activities are frowned upon. They therefore operate undercover and use the dark market to sell their products. Before the government's ban on trade of primates, it was so rampant in the U.K that dealers kept them just like any other product awaiting transportation to the market. This led to increased abuse of animals' rights within the country.

The government stepped in and put in place new legislations regarding the trade of pet monkeys. The Animal Welfare Bill protects the primates from the life-limiting health problems caused by poor handling.

Monkeys being sold on the dark web

As much as there are strict regulations, regarding the trade of protected species, monkeys are still smuggled into the country. Others are also born in the U.K in captivity. According to sources, there are more than 4,000 monkeys living as pets in captivity in the UK. The dark web has contributed to the success of this trade, despite a ban by the government. It is reported that the trade in monkeys is so secretive that without proper connections to vendors, you can't get one.

Most of the monkeys are reportedly sold on the dark web for Bitcoin through linked groups of dealers. With top prices paid, a capuchin like Olly, for example goes for an upfront of $7,000. Some of the primates, mostly female, are treated as breeding machines. Their babies are removed and sold before they are weaned. In fact, UK is home to the highest number of monkey farms in the world.

Dealers and their contacts

With the dealers now operating on the dark web, much of the trade seems to be invisible. Consequently, tougher legislation does not help much. Again, selling the primates has become so lucrative that dealers always find new ways of buying and selling.

There are websites and even groups hosted by social media giants like Facebook, where such transactions take place. According to Mail, there are several groups on Facebook where members can buy and sell monkeys.

One such group is "Marmoset Keepers and breeders. Other exotics Allowed. UK Only", with more than 8K members. Here members can advertise, sell, as well as buy the primates and even special equipments for handling them. Even though this is a public group, most of the transactions take place privately, secured by the TOR browser. Others also conduct it on messenger or over the phone. Bitcoin in most cases, is the preferred form of payment.

Although many websites do not want to be associated with the sale of these primates, ukclassifieds.co.uk has lots of ads for marmosets. So from the number of ads out there, it's clear that monkey business is much bigger in UK. In some occasions, you can even find these animals being sold in pet shops. Manchester Pets and Aquatics, for example has been selling them for very many years.

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