What is it?
– Trade and keeping of wild animals as pets
– Contributes to animal suffering
– Threatens public safety
– Disrupts the ecosystem
– Contributes to endangerment and extinction
Where do they come from?
– Most exotic pets arrive illegally – a global business earning about $20 billion annually (ranks second to illegal drug trade)
– Hundreds of millions of animals in the trading business
– Exotics are taken from the wild: decline in the natural species, horrific transport conditions
– Exotics are bred in captivity – mass breeding, similar to puppy mills, unsanitary conditions
– Exotic animals are surplus animals – exotics that have reached adulthood are usually sold back into the trading market, many end up as victims of “canned hunting” which is hunting exotic animals in a confined location, over 1,000 canned hunting operations throughout the nation
What is the environmental impact?
– Many are taken out of rainforests and the African plains where the ecosystems rely on the animals
– Prey vs. Predators -> rely on one another to balance the population
– Babies are taken, mothers are killed for their young = higher extinction rate
How are they sold to the public?
– Sold in auctions to the highest bidder
– Internet – with a credit card a person can easily purchase a tiger, baboon or any other exotic animal as a pet
How do they take care of the animal?
– It is extremely difficult to properly care for an exotic animal in captivity
– Because the animals are so high maintenance their owners often neglect and abuse them: they are often caged, chained, tranquilized, or beaten into submission
– It is also difficult to get proper medical care. Exotic animals often hide the signs of their illness because in the wild it would be a death sentences if others thought they were weak. This means that the care often comes too late, that is if the owners can find care. Very few vets specialize in exotics, and if they do they often work in zoos.
Are they dangerous?
– YES – Although they may be cute and cuddly as a newborn, once they get older they can become very dangerous
– They can become destructive, unpredictable and physically dangerous when stressed
– Thousands of people are victims to them lashing out
Do they spread diseases?
– Yes, they can
– The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) OPPOSE keeping exotics as pets
– Many can carry: herpes B, salmonella, monkeypox and rabies = lethal for humans
Are they victims of abuse?
– Yes – Teeth and claw removal to avoid putting the human in danger once the animal is an adult
– Small pens in backyards, abandoned, killed or sold back into the exotic trade
– Set animal loose, which is illegal, dangerous, and cruel
Are there laws? What are the permit requirements?
– Yes- certain states prohibit the sale and transportation of certain exotics
– Other states have outright bans or require permits or licenses
– Check the requirement per state on: http://animallaw.info/articles/armpusexoticpets.htm
What can I do to help?
#1. Do not buy exotic animals – including certain birds and reptiles from dealers or pet shops
#2. Educate others about animal welfare and safety problems due to the exotic animal trade!
#3. Do not visit roadside zoos and menageries that breed or display animals for profit.
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