The BBC reported plans by DEFRA to “ban” from keeping monkeys and other primates as pets.
According to the BBC, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is also looking at restrictions on breeding primates. Under the plans, those who keep them without a zoo licence would need to obtain a new specialist private primate keeper licence to ensure they are meeting zoo-level welfare standards.
Animal welfare minister Lord Goldsmith said: "Primates are hugely intelligent and socially complex animals. When they are confined in tiny cages, often alone and with little stimulation, their lives are a misery.
"It's important that we take action to prevent the suffering caused to them when they are kept as pets and so I am delighted that we are moving a big step closer towards banning the practice."
Dr Ros Clubb, senior scientific manager at the RSPCA, said primates could "become depressed without adequate stimulation".
She added: "Sadly, our inspectors are still seeing shocking situations where monkeys are cooped up in bird cages, fed fast food, sugary drinks or even class A drugs, deprived of companions of their own kind, living in dirt and squalor and suffering from disease."
The government is proposing that primates not living in zoos should be registered by councils, with inspectors working out a "course of action" for each animal.