While it can be interesting and exciting to want to own an exotic pet such as a lion or wolf, the dangers of doing so far out way any reward. Following a recent event in Ohio where exotic animals were released into the wild after being kept on private property, animal rights groups are stepping forward requesting that laws on keeping exotic animals as pets be strengthened.
One such animal rights group is targeting Virginia where they say has some of the nation’s weakest exotic animal laws. “Virginia has little oversight of exotic animal ownership; the law requires a permit for big cats, bears and wolves with no regulation at all for primates,” the Humane Society said in a news release. The need to tighten regulations on the possession and sale of wild animals has grown, and now people are speaking up.
There are a few reasons why it is not in the best of the animals (or the owners) to keep these large exotic animals as pets:
- They are not pets; they are wild animals. Although television and movies may give a false interpretation of what it could be like to own an animal like a tiger or bear, it is simply not a good idea.
- At least 75 people have been killed and more than 500 injured by exotic animals kept in zoos or privately since 1990, according to Born Free USA. “There’s a clear danger to the animals themselves,” said Adam Roberts, executive vice-president of Born Free USA. “Often animals kept in private hands are treated inhumanely. They’re chained, defanged or declawed. Then there’s always the risk of escape and in fact of human injury.”
- These large animals are not meant to be confined to areas of privatization. If the laws were strengthened, there would be less unnecessary harm to both the animals and humans.
Virginia is not the only state that has weak exotic pet laws and based on the Ohio incident, more groups are likely to start speaking out to increase regulations. Strengthening the laws will only help to protect the lives of these wild animals, as well as humans from being inadvertently harmed.