Born Free is increasingly concerned by the number of wild animals being traded and kept as exotic pets, both legally and illegally. The international trade in wild animals as ‘exotic pets’ is estimated to be worth billions of pounds annually and involves millions of individual animals.
Vast numbers of animals such as reptiles, amphibians, birds and tropical fish are commonly traded and kept as pets, while the number of privately-owned mammals such as wild cats and primates is believed to be growing. Wild animals are widely available from pet shops, trade fairs, markets and breeders. These animals can be found advertised for sale in newspapers and online.
Wild animals, whether taken from the wild or born in captivity, have complex needs that cannot be met by private keepers in a domestic environment. There are many animal welfare issues involved and the staggering number of dangerous wild animals kept privately is also a genuine risk to human safety.
Born Free is opposed to the trade in and keeping of wild and exotic animals as pets. We investigate and expose the ‘exotic pet’ industry, and challenge both the legal and illegal trade in wild animals as well as campaigning for national and international legislation to reduce and, where possible, end the exotic pet trade.
We proudly rescue individual animals that have either been kept as pets or captured from the wild to supply the demand of the pet trade. We provide them with a high standard of lifetime care in sanctuaries or – where possible – return them to life in the wild.
What’s the difference between a domesticated pet and a wild animal?
Domestic pets have been selectively bred and have had close contact with humans for thousands of years. Wild or exotic animals are not domesticated; even if they have been raised around humans, this can pose serious risks to both animal and human health and safety.