1.6 Speech topic Exotic animals as pets should be illegal
Introduction Slide 1
Imagine being taken captive using shock collars, tranquilizers, and almost lethal weapons, then taken away from your homes and families. Transported in cold, small cages for weeks, with minimal food and water. Then sold illegally on the black market, or to pet shops for up to tens of thousands of dollars. This is what happens to more than 7 million exotic animals each year. The exotic animal trade is one of the largest criminal earnings behind arms smuggling and drug trafficking. Many of the animals don’t survive their journeys from the wild to their new homes. Those who do often suffer in captivity and die prematurely from malnutrition, depression and loneliness. In the USA today it is estimated that more than 20 million exotic animals are being kept as pets in various homes. It is legal In a large number of states in America, to own exotic pets in your household. Today my aim is to inform you on why I think keeping exotic and endangered animals as pets should be illegal globally. I will be talking about the overall dangers and threats of keeping exotic animals as pets, the process from capturing to homing, and lastly the effect it has on the animals.
There are many dangers of the keeping exotic animals as pets, they vary from public safety risk, disease threats and long and short term effect on the animals both mental and physical.
Exotic animals from around the world can pose serious health threats to humans. They carry diseases such as herpes B-virus a lethal virus spread mainly by monkeys; monkeypox and salmonellosis, which 90% of all reptiles carry. These viruses are easily spread and transmitted to humans by being bitten, scratched, or even sneezed on. An article from 2003 talked about a monkeypox outbreak from a pet Gambian rat from Africa, which affected dozens in midwest America and killed 7 people. Human contact with reptiles and other exotic animals accounts for 70,000 cases of salmonellosis each year. These are just some of the many infectious diseases caused by interaction between human and the exotic animals. 75% of all new infectious diseases originate from nonhuman animals. According to one Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officer, “There are all kinds of exotic species that may be unknown vectors of human disease.
Another danger that is frequently read about on the news and in papers are exotic pets attacking their owners, sometimes ending in death. There have been dozens of attacks involving captive big cats in the past decade. In one incident, a tiger mauled his owner’s 3-year-old grandson. A lion killed several dogs and trapped a child in his room, and a Bengal tiger tore off the arm of a 4-year-old boy.
The process of capturing to homing
The journey for many of the exotic animals starts in their homes, commonly in places like the Australian desert, the jungles of Africa or the rainforests in Brazil. Trappers use tranquilisers and traps set up around the animals habitats. Once captured they are injected with valium or midazolam, both chemicals that relax muscles so the animals are unable to move or escape.
The next stage is transporting the animals around the world to various buyers, Tigers are chained up into tiny metal cages, where they are not able to move, exotic birds such as Parrots and Toucans are locked away in dark wooden boxes or stuffed in suitcases with their beaks and feet taped.
These animals are transported around the world for up to 15 weeks in conditions that barely keep them alive. In an article from 2014 about the exotic animals trade and transportation, it stated that 4 out of 5 animals die during transportation. After weeks of transport, the animals are then sold to pet shops for display, and onto customers who want something rare and unique, or on the black market to be then sold illegally. Animals are put through torture so we can keep them as pets.
The effect on the animals
Keeping exotic animals as pets in unnatural environments have huge effects on the animals. They can suffer from depression and after being forced away from their homes, loneliness and commonly they are physically and mentally damaged for life. The interaction between human and exotic animals causes them to catch illnesses from the human lifestyle that they wouldn’t get living in the wild, they get physically hurt from the way they are treated in captivity and often are scarred or damaged for life.
The main reason why exotic animals die after they are newly homed is because the owners don’t have the knowledge, suitable facilities or financial ability to be able to care for the animals which leads them to death.
Companies like PETA, Born Free USA and Big cat rescue are all organisations that help to rescue exotic animals that have been taken captive or illegally sold. They collect donations from online and around the world to help get funding to save the animals and treat them so they are able to return to the wild in the future. PETA did an undercover investigation on a illegal exotic animals trade dealer, who had a warehouse in Arlington Texas. This warehouse was filled with more than 27,000 animals that were subjected to crowded living conditions, lack of food and water and poor ventilation. The investigators found crates that had been left for two weeks, filled with 4,000 iguanas, more than half of them were dead.
Exotic animals, they spread diseases, attack and potentially kill people. Many, especially those traded on the black market are transported or kept in appalling conditions, and many perish on route.
In my opinion, the only trade of exotic species that should be permitted is between approved zoos or breeding programs that help to educate the public or aim to increase the numbers of endangered and exotic animals in the wild. There should be a worldwide band of all other trading of exotic species, for their protection and ours.