Appeal to animal lovers

Updated: 2011-10-11 08:06

(China Daily)

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Comment on "Sharing an interest in exotic pets" (China Daily website, Oct 6)

It is nice that people take such an interest in animals and presumably care deeply about them. The terrible irony is that in keeping wild species as pets, animal lovers cause unspeakable suffering to animals and the destruction of wildlife populations.

Purchasing wild species encourages the illegal wildlife trade. The wildlife trade is devastating populations of animals throughout the world particularly in Asia, Africa and South America. Thousands of species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and birds are going extinct every year because of the illegal trade.

Wild animals are poached from the wild or are bred in captivity. Those bred in captivity suffer extremely poor physical and psychological health and unfathomable abuse. Consumers prefer the wild products rather than captive-reared products.

Often, these pets escape or are released into the wild. These animals usually do not belong in the habitats into which they are introduced. They may spread disease to the native animals there, or may reproduce and dominate food and space and crowd out the native species. Most often, the released or escaped animal suffers severe deprivation, injury and illness, and dies miserably. All three of these issues happen with many feral domestic animals and wild pets.

I seek to implore people who care about animals to consider these devastating consequences of keeping wild animals as pets. If you truly love wild animals, you will make sure that they can live free in the habitats in which they belong.

Kati Loeffler, via e-mail

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(China Daily 10/11/2011 page9)