Exotic-Animal Markets: A Breeding Ground for Disease

Posted by 5 years ago | Permalink | Comments (9)

Lizard in cageAn investigation into three major European exotic-animal markets – including the International Herpetological Society show in the UK – has found evidence of uninformed vendors and veterinary authorities, a serious potential to spread disease to human visitors and insufficient care given to endangered species. The report, which also investigated animal markets in Germany and Spain, was commissioned by PETA Germany and the Animal Protection Association and conducted by an international team of reptile experts consisting of Phillip C Arena, Catrina Steedman and Clifford Warwick.

The experts noted that many vendors and veterinary authorities responsible for monitoring the events had no special training in handling exotic animals. As a result, many vendors were irresponsibly in constant contact with different reptiles – who carry numerous pathogens, such as salmonella. The vendors were likely to spread these pathogens on surfaces, including tables and boxes, or even through a simple handshake. Last year, PETA Germany found multiple types of salmonella on different objects inside the Terraristika market in Hamm.

The investigators also found that many of the animals were suffering from stress caused by improper habitats – which lacked the thermal gradation reptiles need for proper health – as well as by long transport times and the crowded market atmosphere. Some of these animals were threatened and even critically endangered species, and two of the markets even offered Aldabra giant tortoises for sale as private “pets.” These tortoises can reach weights of well over 200 kilograms and live for more than 200 years, easily outliving any owner and growing too strong for any attempts at restraint.

The report confirms what animal rights organisations have said for years – exotic-animal markets are cruel to animals and pose a serious health risk to human visitors. From spreading salmonella to peddling critically endangered species, these markets fly in the face of everything that we know about animal welfare and should be shut down.

Exotic animals don’t belong in the UK, please don’t patronise any exotic animal markets.


  • Lucy Hayreh commented on May 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    No exotic animals should be sold as a pet. It is not only a hazrd to humans, but we cannot sufficiently replicate their natural life in such a way as to make it acceptable.

    • Eve commented on January 12, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      We can, actually. Captive reptiles live longer than wild animals. This indicates a healthier and stress-free life. Plus, they’re too stupid to need mental stimulation.
      As for the disease, we wash our hands.

      I keep a boa constrictor and two corn snakes. If they weren’t happy, they would not be able to shed their skins in one piece (mine do this every time) and they wouldn’t feed. Mine eat every time.

      This said, some idiots don’t know how to care for their animals properly and use them as status symbols. Same as keeping dogs, I suppose. Only even a decent sized python is WAY less dangerous than the average dog.

  • Samuel Pollot commented on May 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Absolutely adore animals, really enjoyed your blog, I work with exotic animals and it is very rewarding

    • Dorinda Brynestad commented on August 10, 2012 at 5:35 am

      What’s the difference? The status quo allows it to be done. That is why the bill was brought up.

  • Brien Comerford commented on May 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    As long as humans contunue to torture, trauamtize and kill animals, we will never be enlightened or able to live in peace.

  • Premier Exotics commented on December 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I think the really problem is the systematic issues in places than enable poor treatment of animals. That could be laws about removing animals from their natural environment or insufficient protocols for handling and transportation. Even a lack of proper care by handlers and pet shops. On the whole I think people that own these animals as pets become experts at caring for them and put provisions in place to mimic their environment and provide them with the right conditions to promote their health and well being. Only when legal restrictions are properly enforced within institutions can these animals no longer suffer from mistreatment.

  • Eve commented on January 12, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I like in the UK and own repltiles. We all know that they carry salmonella. We WASH OUR HANDS after handling our pets, simple as!

    Yes, our hobby has potential to explot these animals. Which is why reasonable keepers like myself keep our animals in decent conditions and don’t buy wild caught animals. I own one CAPTIVE BRED boa constrictor and two CAPTIVE BRED corn snakes. All of them most likely carry nasty diseases. Therefore I will not LICK them and will keep reasonable hygiene standards.

    This disease stuff is just an excuse to condemn our hobby, and I’m not happy about it. I used to see things the same way as other commenters. My views changed.
    Look, while there is money in the world, there will be exploitation. Some of you might call it the devil, I call it human nature. No amount of protesting is going to help that. Unless a massive sterilisation programme is put in place to prevent further spread of the human race (UNLIKELY) other species are going to die because the wild places will be replaced with tower blocks.
    Sooner or later, they’re only going to exist in captivity.

    This isn’t nice, but it’s true and you know it.

    • Thomas Bithell commented on February 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Here here this is a harsh truth that we all must face. But all these activists and such claiming animals are mistreated and expoited. while it happens MOST keepers treat their animals with the care and respect they deserve and most poeple as you say know that their pets carry diseases so CLEAN afterwards. this doesnt take a degree to work out. people just like to pick a subject (in this case exotic keepers) and attempt to lower it to their level and try to destroy it. bring it on i say let em try

  • nerina commented on January 12, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    What rubbish, no human has ever became seriously ill from handling/owning or being around reptiles, yes they carry salmonella, as do chicken eggs, good hyviene ie washing your hands with sanitizer gets rid of any risk at all. Also these reptiles tend to be solitary animals and come together to mate, thengo on their way, so keeping them on their own is no different to how they would live naturally. The apa are known for their terroist acts over rep shows and clifford warwick is a failed reptile breeder himself. When these organisations get their facts correct then maybe their arguments will be watertight and maybe things will change inregards to rep keeping. There are bad keepers yes, just as there are bad dog/cat/bird owners etc, luckily they are in the minority, once the apa get their way, they will turn their attention to other animal owners, then what.

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