The Humane Society of the United States takes a firm stance against the practice of keeping wild animals as domesticated pets. This principle is valid for indigenous as well as non-indigenous species, regardless of whether they were captured in the wild or bred in captivity. The vast majority of people who acquire these animals are unable to provide the level of care that is essential for their wellbeing.
Caring for Wild Animals Is Difficult or Impossible
In spite of what some people who sell animals may claim, providing proper care for wild animals calls for a significant amount of expertise, facilities that are specifically designed for them, and a commitment that lasts a lifetime. It is difficult to meet their nutritional and social needs, and in many instances, their needs are not even known. They frequently mature into much larger, more powerful, and potentially hazardous animals than their owners anticipate or are able to control. Wild cats like ocelots and bobcats, despite their size, can be just as dangerous to children as larger cats like lions and tigers. In addition, wild animals pose a threat to human health and safety as a result of the diseases and parasites they carry.
Baby Animals Grow Up
Baby animals can be incredibly cute, but eventually they will grow into much larger and more powerful creatures than their owners could have ever imagined. The dependent behavior of the juvenile animal is gradually replaced by the instinctive behavior of the adult animal, which can result in the animal biting, scratching, or displaying destructive behaviors without any provocation or prior warning. When such animals reach the point where they are impossible to control, they are typically confined to small cages, passed from owner to owner, or disposed of in some other way. There are not enough reputable sanctuaries or other facilities to provide appropriate care for the wild animals that have been abandoned. They may find their way back into the trade of exotic pets. It’s possible that some will be let loose in the wild, where, if they make it, they’ll wreak havoc on the ecosystem there.
Wild Animals Spread Disease
Because wild animals can carry diseases that are harmful to people, such as rabies, herpes B virus, and Salmonella, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against having direct contact with wild animals. This is due to the fact that these diseases can be spread from animal to human. The herpes B virus, which is frequently found in macaque monkeys, is potentially lethal to human beings. Because contact with reptiles and amphibians is the cause of Salmonella infections in thousands of people each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that these animals be kept out of homes with children under the age of five. A recent outbreak of monkeypox was caused by the introduction of disease-carrying small mammals into the country for the purpose of the pet trade. These small mammals infected native prairie dogs, which were then also sold as pets.
Domestication Takes Thousands of Years
It is not enough for wild animals to have been born in captivity or to have been raised by humans for them to be considered domesticated. Dogs and cats, on the other hand, have been domesticated over the course of thousands of years through the process of breeding them selectively to achieve specific characteristics. These unique animal companions are completely reliant on their human owners for everything from food and shelter to affection and veterinary care. Wild animals are, by their very nature, able to provide for themselves, and they thrive in environments free from human interference. These creatures’ natural tendencies render them unsuitable for keeping as domesticated pets.
Capturing Wild Animals Threatens Their Survival
When animals are caught in the wild for the purpose of keeping them as pets, the animals may experience pain and suffering from the moment they are captured; each year, millions of birds and reptiles endure pain and pass away while being transported to pet stores. Even after they have made the purchase, there is a good chance that their lives will be filled with misery. If they make it, they might be forced to spend the rest of their lives suffocating in a claustrophobic backyard cage or wandering aimlessly inside a cat carrier or aquarium. The majority of the time, their owners are unable to provide adequate care for them, which ultimately leads to illness or death. The international trade in wild animals as pets continues to be a major factor in the extinction of some species in their natural habitats.
When you keep a pet of any kind, you take on the responsibility of providing it with care that is both appropriate and humane. In most cases, it is simply not possible to fulfill this responsibility when it comes to wild animals. The consequences are harmful to people as well as animals and the environment.