People who love animals and are searching for companions have fallen in love with exotic species like chimpanzees, pythons, kinkajous, and scarlet macaws. However, keeping exotic pets can have unintended consequences for both people and animals. Animals in the wild have existed for countless years without being directly impacted by people.
They have evolved to survive in challenging, untamed habitats. They must be better suited to coexisting with people or living in a home. These creatures are wild and potentially deadly by nature.
To know why the law should not permit keeping exotic animals as pets, read on.
Exotic Pets Can Be Dangerous
Wild animals pose a very big risk when kept as pets. Many can bite, scratch, and assault an owner, kids, or visitors. Moreover, they can pose a very big safety hazard if they escape the confines of their owner’s house. Animal keepers can be held liable for any harm, diseases, or injuries brought on by their charges.
It can be challenging, if not impossible, to find new homes for enormous, difficult-to-handle creatures.In worst-case scenarios, this can escalate to people as well as the exotic animal losing their lives.
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Exotic Animals Suffer In Captivity
An animal’s natural behavior is restricted in captivity, endangering its physical and mental health. The African gray parrots, for instance, are known for their foraging skills and for interacting with huge social networks of other birds. They can travel up to 10 kilometers each day in the air.
These parrots frequently tear out their feathers, a behavior akin to self-harming in people, as a result of the stress brought on by the absence of these circumstances.
This is why the law has criminalized detaining wild animals. Moreover, store owners with a permit for housing exotic pets at their stores need to follow many regulations. Not complying with these norms attracts punishments and fines.
Exotic Animals Suffer In Trade
An animal’s trip through the international exotic pet trade is tortuous and frequently fatal. Exotic pets, which may have been captured illegally from the wild or bred in captivity on a farm, are frequently transported over great distances before arriving at their final location.
During this time, they may not have access to adequate shelter, food, space to roam, or environmental controls to maintain the proper body temperature.
After the trafficking of narcotics, people, and weapons, the illicit wildlife trade is the fourth most lucrative crime in the world. Surprisingly, up to 66% of stolen African gray parrots pass away before becoming pets. A lot of exotic animals never become exotic pets.
People Can't Always Handle Exotic Pets
A lot of people who go for exotic pets wish to distinguish themselves from the mainstream. However, only some individuals are aware of the risks they are taking. Taking care of exotic animals can be very challenging, and it is not easy to manage them. Taking our previous example, a gray parrot is a highly clever creature that needs just as much care as a young child does.
They frequently outlast their owners and may live for up to 60 years; as a result, they frequently need to find new homes, which throws them into a lot of instability. Reptiles have very particular food and environmental requirements. As a result, hundreds of exotic pets are confiscated, abandoned, or given to rescue facilities every year in the UK by the police.
The efforts and resources needed for the upkeep of exotic animals are significantly more than what an ordinary individual can manage. When left in the care of private persons, animals suffer from inadequate treatment.
Risk Of Diseases
Exotic animals pose a very significant risk of spreading diseases in humans. Many exotic animals are reservoirs for zoonotic illnesses that may infect people, including Herpes B, Monkeypox, and Salmonellosis. For example, the Simian B, or the Herpes B virus, is lethal to humans but not to monkeys. It is present in 80 to 90 percent of all macaque monkeys.
The secretion and spread of this virus are more likely to be triggered when a monkey is sick, stressed, or mating during the breeding season. The virus is spread sporadically through their saliva and the secretions of their genitalia. About 2% of infected macaque monkeys release the virus at any moment.
A person stands the danger of getting the illness if they are bitten, scratched, sneezed on, or spat on while shedding. It is virtually impossible to determine whether a monkey is in danger since they seldom ever exhibit signs or symptoms of shedding.
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Existing Laws In Regard To Keeping Exotic Animals As Pets In The US
A patchwork of federal, state, and municipal laws controls exotic animals’ buying, selling, and ownership. These laws are often unique to each community and each animal species. Exotic animal owners must abide by all applicable federal and state, local, and other laws if they wish to rear exotic pets. In this article, however, we will only discuss the state and local laws because federal laws do not regulate private ownership of exotic animals.
State governments regulate private ownership of exotic animals. The regulations applied in this regard and the particular species of animals they cover differ from state to state. Some states forbid the private ownership of exotic animals (banning the ownership of at least large cats, wolves, bears, non-human primates, and dangerous reptiles).
Others have partial bans (prohibiting the ownership of some exotic animals but not all). Still other states do not forbid the ownership of exotic animals but may ask the owner for some information (veterinarian certificate, a certification to prove that the animal was legally acquired, etc.).
Many counties and cities have passed ordinances that are stricter than the state’s legislation. The possibility of an animal attack or an escape is always real. Due to this, the City or County Council typically decides that owning certain exotic species poses a serious threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the community’s residents and, as such, adopts an ordinance regulating or outlawing private possession.
Some persons frequently circumvent current regulations or restrictions by obtaining USDA-issued licenses as breeders or exhibitors and having their land rezoned. Additionally, if a limitation or prohibition is put in place, people frequently relocate to another state or outside their current location.
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While one may want to appear either flashy or unique, it is obvious that exotic animals should not be kept as pets. This poses risks to the animals, their potential owners, and their surroundings. One should not interfere with nature to satisfy their need to flaunt a unique animal instead of the usual dog and cat. One can easily adopt animals from animal shelters if one seeks warmth and love. This will not only rescue a stray but also prevent the capture of exotic animals.