Exotic Pet Trade
Do you remember the first time you saw a tiger? I do; it was beautiful and majestic, and I knew in that moment that I wanted one. Have you ever wanted an exotic pet? Thought that maybe when you grew up and you were rich and famous, you’d finally buy yourself that incredible animal? As a young child I honestly always thought that I would be able to obtain a tiger sometime in my lifetime. It wasn’t until many years later that I learned how damaging the exotic pet trade is for wildlife across the world. I’d like to share with you the costs associated with the exotic pet trade, the dangers of owning a wild pet, and the minimal repercussions of enabling and supporting the wild pet trade.
According to the Humane Society of the United States the trade of wild animals for pets or parts has annual revenue of at least $10 billion dollars, which is second only to arms and drug smuggling (HSUS). Going back to myself wanting to buy a tiger, all it would cost me to acquire a 5 month old female tiger is $13,400, and she would even come with a genuine ivory collar, so this particular purchase involves more than one exotic animal. The breeders describe their sellable tigers as, “The strongest feline predator on earth, but you will discover that it can be a lovely pet as well, loyal, friendly, and TOTALLY HARMLESS.” Matthew Liebman of the Animal Legal Center stated that since 1990 in the United States alone there have been over 120 incidents with captive large cats, two of which left young children dead.
Next, I’d like to continue on to share the dangers of owning exotic pets. Liebman summarized in his paper that since 1990 there has been at least 470 incidents involving wild pets, ranging from reptiles to nonhuman primates and even one hippo. I’d like to point out that these are the known cases reported, not all incidents are reported because many wild animals are kept illegally and in inadequate living environments. In addition to...