Exotic animals do not make good pets and are not suited to life in captivity. Purchasing an exotic animal also means supporting a trade that involves a high level of cruelty and environmental destruction - as many animals in the trade are captured from the wild. There is no easy way of telling whether exotic animals have been bred in captivity or are wild-caught. As well as this, exotic pets can also spread diseases to people.
Exotic pet keeping is a 'hobby' of ignorance, where animal keepers know little about the biological needs of their captives and where sellers rely on this uninformed market. APA's educational campaign will provide insights into the misinformation that surrounds animal keeping and hopefully persuade people to steer clear of exotic pets. There may always be unscrupulous people willing to trade in wild animals for short-term profit. Without consumer demand the trade will collapse.
Heightened awareness leading to a change in public attitudes will have profound impact on the trade. The exotic pet industry creates a false demand for exotic animals by marketing them as 'low maintenance' and 'easy to keep'. This deceptive and damaging message however is countered more and more in informed circles, such as the veterinary and biological professions. Local and national media increasingly present stories of animals who have suffered cruelty and neglect at the hands of owners who could no longer manage them or afford expensive veterinary bills. Despite this, the trade is booming with an ever-increasing diversity of species available to consumers.
Animal traders and pet shop staff commonly lie about the origins of their animals and lead customers to believe, for example, that they are captive-bred when in fact they have been snatched from the wild. The capture and transportation process is so brutal that the majority of animals die before they reach the pet shop. The trade in wild animals for pets is driving many species towards extinction.
People who buy exotic pets are often not aware of the significant disease risk that they invite into their homes. Vulnerable groups such as children under five, the elderly, pregnant woman or people with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to contracting one of the many diseases carried by exotic animals.
The simplest answer therefore is not to buy exotic pets and also to educate others against exotic animal keeping.