Exopet: A Study on the Keeping of Exotic and Wild Birds and Reptiles Under Animal Welfare Aspects
Currently, there are manifold attempts aiming at monitoring and regulation of the private keeping of exotic pets within the EU.
To gain scientific based data on the trade and the keeping of exotic birds and reptiles as well as related animal welfare problems.
An extensive study was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture, where numerous questionnaires were distributed customized for specialized veterinarians, state veterinarians, animal owners/breeders (www.exopet-studie.de). An analysis on trade ways and the final destination of pets was performed on several levels. More than one hundred veterinary and customs authorities were interviewed. Numerous fairs were evaluated using a profound checklist.
Evaluation of the specialized veterinarians addressed numerous health problems potentially attributed to the keeping and faulty management of exotic birds and reptiles. Apart from the overall keeping conditions, one important aspect lay in the suitability of pet accessories presented by the zoo market. One of the outcomes was also an unsatisfactory surveillance by the authorities.
Concerning animal shelters, first results show that on the one hand a broad range of species is received, on the other hand it became clear that especially the so-called “beginner-species,” relatively inexpensive species or species with high life expectancies are regularly handed in by private owners or confiscated by authorities.
Important factors discussed in this context are the low costs of most exotic birds and reptiles and the often insufficient or lacking owner expertise. Specific suggestions to solve the problems seen in the study will be discussed.