Should People Be Allowed to Keep Exotic Animals as Pets?
Human desire to keep wild animals at home appeared in the ancient Rome for the first time. At that époque, Roman emperors asked their servants to find exotic animals for them promising high remuneration (Erdkamp 126). Today, the world has changed significantly, but many people still want to keep exotic animals at home. Thus, the question arises: is it safe and should these people be allowed to keep such animals?
First of all, it is worth defining what animals are considered to be exotic. Researchers Berkoff and Meaney in their work Encyclopedia and Animal Welfare (1998) state, “an “exotic” animal is an individual member of any species that is not domesticated, that is, an animal that has not evolved either artificially or naturally to share a close living environment with humans” (115). People, who keep exotic pets as opposed to keeping the more common cats, dogs, and small cage mammals, should take into account the peculiar features of these animals. Wild animals always remain wild, despite the fact of their domestication. They are completely different from cats and dogs, and the most important fact is that they are not afraid of people. Moreover, such pets do not perceive them as masters. The situation with dogs and cats is completely different, as human home replaces the whole world for them. Unfortunately, an exotic animal feels uncomfortable in human home. Therefore, keeping an undomesticated animal in captivity is not always in the best interest of the animal. Exotic animals, besides being unusual, require special care and diet. What is more, removing them from their natural habitat may place people at health risk. Moreover, many of exotic animals are dangerous, and people should try to understand the individual needs that are characteristic to each exotic animal. For example, Bengals resemble cats as they like playing and enjoy human attention. However, they cannot be placed on laps. When people spend much time with this animal, it starts feeling boredom towards them, and if the cat feels boredom, it can trouble a lot. Another example is a bobcat. This animal is friendly with people whom it is familiar with. However, it becomes anxious when gusts drop. Owners of this animal will not have the possibility to go out for long vacations or even party on weekdays because they just cannot leave this animal alone. If a babysitter is appointed, attention must be paid to the fact that it should not be a stranger to the animal, but a friend whom this pet is familiar with. These factors may cause difficulties for the owners. Bear cubs produce much urine, and owners should be ready for that. Different species of animals have different habits, which may cause many problems for their owners.
Moreover, one should take into account that people who adopt exotic animals often lack an understanding of how big the animal will grow or how much it will eat. Valerie Tynes (2013) in her work Behavior of Exotic Pets emphasizes that those exotic pets owners must consider the biological requirements and needs of their pets (128). Exotic pets’ owners must pay attention to the food for their pandas, tigers and chimpanzees. It should be bought in specialized stores. Human habitat does not fit for the exotic animals, and for that reason, people should think about special mini aviaries and aquariums for their pets.
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Another issue that should be considered is the fact that exotic animals may be the carriers of unknown infectious diseases. There exists a high risk that keeping an exotic animal may result in serious diseases and infections, even in case of its good behavior.
Domestication of wild animals often turns out to cause significant difficulties for animals. These unfortunate creatures are often caught in the wild habitat, which is their home, and after this disastrous experience, they should outlive the transportation to foreign lands, often in tiny hidden compartments and overcrowded containers (Beauchamp, 744). It is rather difficult for them to survive such a terrific trip. If they survive, their existence will then continue in sterile, lonely, uncomfortable and unnatural enclosures. Often, they are locked in captivity in an environment that is totally unsuitable for their needs. While capturing the wild animals, traders destroy their habitats and kill their parents. Most captive wild animals live neglected lives, deprived of social contact with their species.
In conclusion, it should be stated that keeping wild exotic animals as pets is not just dangerous and expensive, but also very cruel. Wild animals always remain wild; they cannot be tamed. Humans have been masters of other species for so long that they just do not question whether they have the right to keep them captive. This issue concerns not only the legal side of this problem, but also its moral aspect. People must understand that taming wild animals does not mean becoming their closest friends, but depriving them of their home, family, habits, and life in the natural environment. In most cases, life with human beings seems to be a real torture for exotic creatures, but human desire to be the owners of unusual animals and stand out from the crowd makes them blind and careless. If animals could speak, they would definitely communicate people their dissatisfaction. They try to show it through their behavior, but humans just do not notice it. For them, exotic animals are just toys. People should stop destroying the planet by their irresponsible behavior. Keeping wild animals at home does not only impact the lives of the fauna representatives, but also upsets the natural balance of the planet. Thus, it should be limited and prohibited by the law.