Legislation exists at EU and UK level with the purpose of improving welfare or ensuring some level of protection for primates against exploitative treatment. The EU Strategy for Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2016 attempts to bring together existing policy/legislation on animal welfare that currently spans different directives (etc):
“The Commission will consider the feasibility of introducing a simplified EU legislative framework with animal welfare principles for all animals kept in the context of an economic activity including where appropriate pet animals, with a specific attention on simplification, reduction of administrative burden and the valorization of welfare standards as a means to enhance competitiveness of the EU food industry including the value added potential of animal welfare standards.” (pp. 6-7)
All elements of this framework would not apply to primates, but keeping animals as pets, in zoos or for experimentation would. As part of the EU, UK law and policy must align with EU directives and this could have the result of strengthening existing legislation or potentially weakening it. And the larger picture, of trade in endangered species and conservation efforts, must be kept in mind, as of course no primates (other than humans!) are indigenous to the UK – to understand where they have come from (their lives and needs in these environments) and how they got here (what are their stories, to find ways to prevent continued exploitation).