In a new report published today the RSPCA along with Born Free has revealed the animal welfare 'ticking time bomb' faced by the country due to the extensive trading and keeping of wild animals.
The charities have today published a joint report - The Exotic Pet-demic: UK's ticking timebomb exposed - which calls for urgent changes in the law.
The RSPCA is concerned that the private keeping of exotic wild animals poses significant risks to animal welfare, species conservation, as well as animal and human health, and the environment.
Our CEO, Chris Sherwood said: "Last year, the RSPCA handled more than 6,000 calls relating to almost 23,000 exotic pets - from lizards and snakes to raccoon dogs and monkeys. Many of the problems we deal with are the result of a lack of understanding of how to care for exotic pets. These animals have the same, complex needs as their wild kin, but it can be extremely difficult to fulfill those requirements in a domestic environment and that leads to suffering. This important report highlights why the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which approaches its 2nd reading, doesn't go far enough, particularly in its failure to propose a full ban on primates being kept as pets. We also want to go further and restrict the keeping of other exotic, wild animals whose needs cannot be met in the home and who face a life of suffering if kept as pets. There needs to be better regulation of the keeping and trade in exotic pets, and we are proposing that the UK Government gives consideration to proposals like a positive list system as a possible way forward. This report offers far-reaching recommendations and we hope it will be a springboard to further discussion about the way we regulate the keeping and trading of exotics and improve their welfare."