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Call on the USDA to properly define an exotic pet and to revise the Animal Welfare Act to ban exotic pet ownership in the USA.
Wild animals like tigers, cheetahs, lions, primates, and even reptiles are being taken from the wild as pets across the world. Not only do these kinds of animals not belong in a domesticated environment, they are actually dangerous, and suffer greatly by being abused as "pets."
Around 5,000 tigers alone are estimated to be held by private individuals (1), but since most states don't keep accurate records on exotic animals that enter their state, it has become almost impossible to know how many animals are being kept in homes.
Exotic animals do not make good pets. They need incredibly specialized care, housing, diets, and freedom that people simply will never be able to provide. Cheetahs for example, have territorial ranges that can exceed 300 square miles (2). Animals that are used to being able to travel across the plains of the Serengeti whenever they please, will only suffer by being kept inside of a house.
The vast majority of people who seek out wild animals to have as "pets" in their home, do so because they think it's "cool" or many times just as a statement to their wealth (3). What they don't think about however, is how it is almost impossible to truly domesticate a wild animal.
Wild animals will always have wild needs. Even animals like parrots have not been domesticated over thousands of years like dogs and cats, making it impossible for them to live under human care (4). Trying to keep an exotic animal just because it looks cool or because you want to show how much money you have is not worth the toll it takes on the animals themselves. It needs to stop.
To The United States Department of Agriculture,
Exotic animals are being illegally bought, traded, and brought into the United States to be kept by people as pets. These animals however are taken from the wild where they have lived for hundreds of generations, making them impossible to domesticate.
Not only are these animals incredibly dangerous to be kept inside of a private home, but they also suffer greatly under human care. They all have extremely delicate needs in regards to their food, their environment, and the care they require. They are wild animals and will always behave as such.
We are asking you to take a strong stance on this serious problem by making very specific guidelines on what is and isn't considered an exotic pet. We also need you to revise the Animal Welfare Act to ban exotic pet ownership across the entire United States so that these animals no longer suffer in the hands of human owners.
Unless these actions are taken, people will continue to buy, sell, and trade animals that are taken from their homes and families in the wild, and abusing them for their own gratification.