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RSPCA call for primates to be banned as pets

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screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-10-57-22RSPCA CYMRU has launched a campaign calling for a ban on keeping primates as pets in Wales.

The charity’s scientists believe that primates can never be kept as pets without their welfare being compromised and are calling on the public, and decision-makers, to support a ban.

The animal welfare charity hopes Wales will join the list of 15 European countries which have implemented a ban of some kind. It is estimated that there are around 120 privately-kept primates in Wales, and in 2015, the RSPCA received more calls about primates traded or kept as a pet in Wales than in any of the previous 11 years.

Marmosets, capuchins and squirrel monkeys are by far the most common primates being kept as pets, destined for unnecessary suffering in an unnatural environment.

In a survey, RSPCA Cymru found 72% of those polled in Wales support a ban of the keeping of all primates as pets. The charity is now calling on supporters to urge their Assembly Members to support a ban.

RSPCA’s senior scientific officer, Ros Clubb, said: “It doesn’t matter how well intentioned the owner is, primates are not suitable pets. All primates, hand-reared or not, are wild animals. They are highly intelligent beings that need specialist care in captivity. The complex environment that a primate needs can never be provided in a house.

“Often they are living in bird cages, being fed sugary drinks and sweets and living in filthy conditions. Even when the owner has good intentions, the animals’ needs are not being met because primates are so difficult to keep and it is extremely complicated to ensure their welfare needs are being met.

“We fear there are hundreds more that are suffering behind closed doors because people do not know how to look after these animals properly and simply can’t provide what they need.

“The trend for keeping primates seems to be on the up – but they have very specific needs that can’t be met in a typical household and so suffering can be extreme. As well as dietary and environmental needs, primates are highly social animals and they have extremely complex behavioural and social needs – but sadly in many cases they are being kept as lone primates.”

Former Assembly Member Lorraine Barrett has spoken to RSPCA Cymru about the time she rehomed a primate from a pet shop in the early 80s. After feeling ‘desperately sorry for him’ she made the decision to buy the monkey thinking she could rescue him and make a difference to his life. He had been tied up with a collar and lead.

“The minute I walked in the house with the monkey I realised how out of my depth I was,” she said.

“He was wild. We had a wild animal in our house. One time he was on the top of the cupboard and jumped on my son’s head. I went to grab him and he bit me all around my arm. We were all just screaming. It was crazy. I know it can’t have been the monkey’s fault – it must have been such an incredibly stressful experience for him.

“Looking back, it was so scary how little information was available about how completely inappropriate it is to keep a monkey in a domestic environment. The only advice people need is that primates should never be kept as pets.”

Releasing details of Mrs Barrett’s experience, RSPCA Cymru wants to dispel the myth that keeping a primate is achievable in any home setting.

“These really are wild animals, not cuddly toys,” said Mrs Barrett. “The Government needs to ban the keeping of primates as pets not only to protect them from lives of misery, but also to protect the public.

“Please don’t repeat the same mistake as me. It really was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. Primates should never ever be kept as pets.”

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Lecture considers the future of war

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INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).

Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.

He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?

Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”

The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.

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Youth Service invited to international training event

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TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.

‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.

Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education​,​ said​:​ “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.

“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!​”​

Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from ​Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.

Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said​:​ “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker ​added​:​ “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”

Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, ​commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”

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Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds

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ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.

Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.

CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.

Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.

On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.

Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.

The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.

Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.

Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.

Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.

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