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Wild animals as pets

The American Animal Hospital Association opposes the keeping of wild animals as pets. Wild animals are those not specifically bred over many generations to adapt to human confinement, company, or control. When wild animals are kept as pets, the results may often be tragic for the animals and the owners. Lack of knowledge about behavioral traits, social needs, and proper nutrition of wild animals as well as inability to provide an appropriate environment that permits normal behavior often leads to inadvertent abuse and long term suffering. Furthermore, individuals exposed to captive wild animals may contract transmissible diseases, or suffer injury or death. The capture and transport of wild animals results in the inhumane death or injury of many of the targeted animals as well as non-targeted species. Capture of wildlife intended for domestic use constitutes a significant threat to the world’s various ecosystems. AAHA, however, does not oppose the keeping of exotic pets bred for the pet trade. However, these pets have many complicated requirements for humane care and it is necessary to establish a relationship with a veterinarian who is able to provide appropriate advice and care for the particular species. Exotic pets consist of species that are not commonly household pets, but have been bred over many generations to adapt to human confinement, company, and control.

Adopted by the American Animal Hospital Association Board of Directors, March 1995. Revised June 1996. Last revised November 2014.

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