Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Born Free: Three (Stupid) Reasons for Banning the Private Possession of Exotic Animals

Our Dippy Exotic Pet Rant of the day comes from none other than Born Free, probably one of the top zoo/pet haters. 


         1. Those crazy exotic animals threaten public safety!!!’

Born Free says:

“Across the country, many exotic animals privately held have escaped from their enclosures and freely roamed the community, and have attacked humans and other animals. Children and adults have been mauled by tigers, bitten by monkeys, and asphyxiated by snakes.”
Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)  Via Flickr

That’s the thing about animals; many of them come equipped with claws, teeth, and other modes of self-defense.

First, we need to talk about how silly it is that we are making generalizations about ‘exotic pets’. You might as well replace the word with ‘pets’; it makes no difference.

Many pets have escaped and freely roamed the community, and have attacked humans and other animals.

See? This sentence makes the same amount of sense. Instead of singling out an arbitrary definition of ‘exotic pets’, it includes all animals like dogs which we all are highly aware do the same exact thing. So why does no one care what the non-exotic pet does? They just don’t, that pretty much explains it.

Born Free goes on to talk about how dangerous exotic felines are and that “Adult exotic felines weigh anywhere between 300 to 500 pounds depending on the species…”, but actually Born Free, this is a factual error. You just mentioned previously an ‘ocelot’, and its adult size is 17-24 pounds. How can they make such a blatant error?

I actually conducted research spanning several months about injurious exotic cat incidences. Based on the available evidence, exotic cat attacks, both big and small, are anything but common.

Let’s just say I was able to find no more than 6 exotic cat attacks to an uninvolved (with the animal) member of the public in the last 25 years (!) I did my absolute best, and if I missed an incident or two it was not my intention, but 6 incidences is shockingly tiny. Large constrictor snakes also kill on average one human a year, if that.

So when Born Free boldly states “With so many exotic animals in private hands, these incidents are not rare”, I find it hard to believe anyone would consider the actual facts ‘not rare’. What is rare? Zero?

“By their very nature, exotic animals are dangerous creatures.”

Born Free basically just stated that a sloth is dangerous. And hamsters. And cockatiels.

There you have it, the lack of logic and basic reason with animal rights sites is blatant and absurd. And they probably don’t care, as long as they properly fear-monger you into complying with their ideology. 

         2. Scary Diseases!

“Many exotic animals are carriers of zoonotic diseases, such as Herpes B, Monkey Pox, and Salmonellosis, all of which are communicable to humans.”

It’s true, exotic pets can carry disease. Are the ‘acceptable pets’ disease threat free? No. But that doesn’t stop activists from sensationalizing this about exotic pets as though it’s some anomaly that only exists with them.

You will always hear them talk about these three diseases: Monkey Pox (prairie dogs), Salmonella (reptiles) and Herpes B (macaque monkeys).

According to the CDC, your number one source of Salmonella comes from contaminated food. It also has been linked with the keeping of backyard chickens. Chickens are domesticated, so I guess that source of infection doesn’t matter. Even dogs can carry salmonella.

Someone might say that the risk of getting Salmonella is higher in reptiles than dogs. This is true, but what is this, some kind of contest where the loser gets banned and the winner stays legal? That doesn’t make any sense.  As you might guess, dogs and cats have their own unique set of zoonotics that they might pass on to you.

Born Free ‘forgot’ to mention that the CDC saysReported cases of infection in humans are very rare; since the identification of the virus in 1932, there have only been 31 documented human infections by B virus, 21 of which were fatal”. The last death occurred in 1997 with a researcher that worked with macaques. 

So there you have it, a serious disease but ridiculously rare.

And last but not least, monkey pox, the animal rights activist fear monger’s golden child of explaining how the exotic pet trade (event the small ones!) will end us all.

In 2003, monkey pox was reported in the United States for the first time, and the source of the infection was traced to imported Ghanaian rodents including Gambian pouched rats, tree squirrels, and dormice. Monkey pox has a case-fatality ratio of 1%-10%...in remote, medically underserved areas in Africa. 

The people in the U.S. who got the rare disease got mild symptoms.

Still, an embargo was enforced on the sale and importation of prairie dogs and numerous African rodents. We lost a lot of cool animals like jirds and jerboas because of this ban but the world did not end. While still illegal to ship these animals from Africa, captive prairie dogs are now allowed to be sold within the U.S. and all is well. 

It makes much more sense to address issues as they show up rather than to ban hundreds of animals for such a low risk of serious disease outbreaks.

Remember, Born Free doesn’t really care about these diseases or their impacts, they just hate all animal captivity and will say anything to get their way. 

      3.  It’s just cruel, all of it!

“When in the hands of private individuals, the animals themselves suffer. These animals do not adjust well to a captive environment, for they require special care, housing, diet and maintenance that the average person cannot provide.”

Again, making massive generalizations is akin to flat out lying. Anyone who says ‘exotics pets are…’ and doesn’t end that sentence with something like ‘living organisms’, ‘DNA-containing’ or ‘required to eat in order to live’ is probably either ignorant to the extremely diverse amount of species or doesn’t care about the accuracy of their statements.

 Many exotics do very well in captivity. Those that don’t are probably already unpopular pet choices for a reason. I would say that in general, the mammals and birds that do best in captivity and breed readily end up in the pet trade while the less hardy animals stay in professional zoological facilities.
Of course, they all require someone who knows how to care for them, no different from any other living organism.

 Even an animal as seemingly easy to care for as a goldfish is often cared for incorrectly by most people; that doesn’t mean they should be banned or that goldfish are unsuitable for captivity. 

Pet stores and bad breeders are often to blame for ignorant people getting pets they can’t, or refuse to handle properly. Many people will often get a dog and improperly care for it. Just because the dog won’t die easily doesn’t make this any better.

Many exotic pets, and most of the ones Born Free thinks they’re talking about, are not for the “average person” anyway. There are many non-average people that shouldn’t have their pets taken from them.

Born Free has tried to turn their emotional ideology into facts, but they’ve failed. Lucky for them, many legislators don’t let the truth stand in the way of their decisions.  

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