In the United States, the growing number of displaced animals results from an exotic animal market fueled by legal and illegal importers, trappers, breeders, dealers, zoos, pet stores, and the public itself. Zoos, circuses, and other animal acts respond to the public's demand to see baby animals by breeding additional animals. The result is a surplus of animals who have no place to go. Many exotic animals end up being sold to roadside zoos, become exotic meat for adventurous palates, food for other carnivores or trophies in canned hunts.
Breeders and pet stores also play on the demand for baby animals, selling them as "pets." But when the novelty of having a wild or exotic pet fades or the animal's adolescent or adult demands become unmanageable, these creatures are relegated to cages in backyards, garages, basements or worse. Some animals are resold and reenter the trade in an ongoing cycle that eventually ends in death or even abandonment. Only a few arrive at sanctuaries.
CWAPC believes that education is an important component of creating social change. To this end, CWAPC will provide the public, policy makers and the media with accurate information concerning the harmful practice of keeping dangerous wild animals as pets, in order to ultimately create a safer environment for people and animals.
The goal of these materials is to communicate the following messages:
- Wildlife should be protected in their natural habitat.
- Private ownership of wild animals as pets is dangerous to people and inhumane to animals.
- Wild animals as pets injure and kill children and adults and can transmit potentially deadly diseases.
- Only professionally operated, regulated facilities can provide appropriate levels of care for wild animals.
- Wild animals are not suited to be kept as pets.