People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) denounced the social media posts on Wednesday. As cute as these baby marmosets may be, activists note that most of these exotic pets are obtained by killing the mother so its babies can become niche playthings. As Babe.net notes, it’s also illegal to own pet monkeys in California, though it’s possible to apply for a restricted species permit via the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife. (The Kardashians posted the videos at their grandmother’s California home, according to the Daily Mail, but the exact living situation and conditions of the marmosets are unclear.)
“Most primates, in general, are very social, and to separate them from their social group setting is irresponsible and cruel,” Rutgers professor and evolutionary ecologist Dr. Erin Vogel told Babe.net. “Celebrities should spend more time promoting the conservation of the endangered habitats of these animals instead of taking ‘cute’ pictures or videos for Instagram. It is appalling.”
Vogel was joined by three other animal behavior experts who spoke with Babe.net and condemned the Kardashians for promoting irresponsible, illegal pets. PETA told the Daily Mailthat marmosets naturally live in the trees, and don’t do well without their “large, tight-knit social groups.”
Representatives for the Kardashians did not respond to a request for comment.