Source: Composite by G_marius based on M. Dolly's image.
Should people be allowed to keep exotic animals as pets? Should we ban the ownership of wild animals? Do true animal lovers keep exotic pets? Check out the pros and cons and share your opinion!
On netivist we have many open debates and petitions concerning animal abuse and protection (e.g. bullfighting, dolphin hunting, gorillas in zoos). Let's discuss the possession of exotic pets. Keeping exotic animals as pets has always been a subject of controversy. We are not only referring to the eccentricities of some celebrity owning a lion or a tiger. Exotic pets are very diverse and increasingly common in homes.
Should exotic animals be kept as pets?
Animal lovers are divided. For some of them having an exotic pet is a cool thing and a display of love for the animal. Some owners of unusual pets put great effort into all the paperwork necessary to get their animals authorized as pets. Moreover, they spend a lot of money and time taking care of their pets. Owning a pet is always a responsibility, but owning a dangerous or wild animal more so. For others, allowing exotic pets means endangering wildlife. Snakes, spiders, chameleons, scorpions and monkeys have become increasingly common pets. The owners of these pets in generally treat them with great care and argue these pets have a very pleasant life at their homes. However, the ownership of exotic pets is also highly controversial. Keeping exotic animals as pets threatens public health and safety as well as animal welfare. Wild animals can harm humans and spread diseases.
Pros and cons of exotic pets
Let’s have a look at the arguments proposed by people in favor of exotic pets ownership:
- Many of these pets don’t need neither much space, nor daily walks or shows of affection, for example reptiles, spiders, insects…
- Dogs and cats usually live many years. Some exotic pets have shorter lifespans, which means they are less of a long term commitment for their owner.
- As some exotic pets, such as amphibians or reptiles, don't have fur they are more convenient for people with allergies.
- Some exotic pets have other advantages like pest control (lizards), fiber production (alpaca), eggs (quails), etc.
- There is a great diversity of wild animals, so any owner can find a pet that suits her/his needs.
- Owners of exotic animals usually learn a lot about them so that they can take care of them properly. Knowledge usually makes people more open minded and interesting.
- Adopting wild animals can be a good way of protecting some endangered species which otherwise would struggle to survive in their original habitat.
Many activists and animal rights advocates staunchly oppose keeping exotic animal as pets and argue:
- Exotic animals are wild animals. They have not been domesticated and selected during thousands of years like dogs (30.000 years) and cats (5.000 years). So even if they are owned since birth and tamed, they are still wild, with their own instincts and needs. In consequence, they often suffer while being kept as pets
- Some of these animals are very dangerous. If they escape, they can endanger family and neighbors.
- Some wild animals may carry infections and diseases.
- Some animals (parrots, for example) have very long lifespans and mean a very long term commitment for owners.
- Many of exotic pets have specific needs, not only physical (temperature, light, food, space, housing) but also mental needs (monkey, parrots). If any of these needs is not fulfilled, they will suffer. If these animals develop mental disorders they may become violent and destructive.
- It is sometimes difficult to find the right professional or veterinary doctor who could advice on the best ways to take care of the exotic pet.
- There is an important illegal market around wild animals and exotic pets. There are criminal organizations that are hunting and mistreating animals in order to serve the demand for these fancy pets. Some endangered species are particularly sensible to this threat.
If you change your mind, you can change your vote simply by clicking on another option.
Should exotic animals be kept as pets? Should the ownership of wild animals be banned?
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