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Journal Article

The Morality of the Reptile "Pet" Trade

Clifford Warwick
Journal of Animal Ethics
Vol. 4, No. 1 (Spring 2014), pp. 74-94
DOI: 10.5406/janimalethics.4.1.0074
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Page Count: 21

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Topics: Reptiles, Animals, Trade, Fur trade, Zoonoses, Humans, Mortality, Species, Turtles, Public health
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The Morality of the Reptile
"Pet" Trade
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The trade in, and private keeping of, reptiles as "pets" raises several ethical concerns regarding animal welfare (associated with handling, storage, transportation, intensive captive breeding, captivity stress, injury, disease, and high premature mortality); public health and safety (associated with zoonotic disease and animal-linked injuries); species conservation and environmental degradation (associated with wild capture); and ecological alteration (associated with invasive alien species). Also, many captive reptiles are fed other animals, raising broader ethical questions. Misperceptions about reptiles by proponents of their captivity mean that these animals are subject to conditions that would likely be considered unacceptable for dogs or cats.

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