A monkey has been rescued from a Lancashire home where it was being kept in a small birdcage.

The marmoset monkey was rescued by the RSPCA from a small parrot cage in a property in the Burnley area.

Officers from the animal welfare charity say the case highlights the need to introduce a ban on trading and keeping primates as pets.

The two-year-old male was recently purchased after being sold to buyers numerous times. He was being kept in poor conditions on his own in the small bird cage, which was in a house in the Burnley Borough Council area.

The RSPCA officer who rescued him said: “It’s a sad sight to see this marmoset in such poor conditions and so clearly terrified.

"These animals may look cute and cuddly but that’s far from reality. Their needs cannot be met in a domestic environment as they are highly intelligent animals and are very complex to care for.

"This monkey is now being looked after by a specialist wildlife centre where he is being rehabilitated.”

Dr Ros Clubb, Senior Scientific Manager at the RSPCA said: “This is just one of many marmosets rescued by the RSPCA from completely inappropriate conditions.

"The RSPCA has been calling for a complete ban on the keeping and trade of primates as pets for many years and we are delighted to see this being seriously considered. We don’t believe that primates should be kept as pets, because their needs simply cannot be met in a domestic environment.

"They are intelligent, sentient and highly social animals with complex needs. Just like humans, primates can become depressed without adequate stimulation. They need a spacious and enriched environment that challenges their intelligent brains and allows for them to behave like primates should, yet we find them kept alone in indoor bird cages in living rooms.

“The RSPCA regularly sees primates that have been kept as pets with behaviour problems and very poor health, especially Metabolic Bone Disease (rickets in humans), as a result of totally inappropriate care.

“Keeping primates as pets should simply not be allowed. But until a ban is introduced, and properly enforced, we’ll continue to see marmosets being kept in bird cages in people’s living rooms.”