Position Statements on Exotic Animals as Pets
“Exotic” or wild animals are unsuited for life as family pets. Pet primates, big cats and reptiles have attacked and seriously injured their guardians as well as unsuspecting neighbors and their pets. Many exotic animals carry pathogens readily transmittable and potentially fatal to humans, such as herpes B virus, monkeypox virus, hanta virus and salmonella.
There is no doubt that many exotic pet guardians truly care for their animals. However, they often find themselves unable to provide their pets with an appropriate living environment that ensures both the health and well-being of the animal and the safety of the community.
Exotic pets come from a variety of sources. Some are taken from their natural habitats. Others are the result of captive breeding of wild animals for the express purpose of providing animals for the exotic pet industry. Capture, breeding and marketing of exotic animals is often done outside legal channels, thereby compromising the animals’ right to humane treatment and the public scrutiny imperative for disease identification and control.
The ASPCA’s policy is that no animal taken from the wild, or wild by nature, should be kept as a pet. In cases where exotics are already being kept as companions, where their guardians are able to provide appropriate environments and care, and provided that the animals are not bred, the ASPCA would support their remaining in their homes. Where appropriate care is not or cannot be provided, the ASPCA advocates removing such animals to approved sanctuaries.