|Purred: Sat May 23, '09 4:24am PST |
|Well, first we have to define what we mean by "wild animal." I hardly consider ducks, geese, gerbils, the mice sold in pet stores, etc. as "wild animals." If you're talking about taking a racoon out of the forest and making it a pet, that's a different story. My cousin works for a company but lives on a farm, and her hobby is her "zoo," which includes ducks, geese, a miniature horse, peacocks, turtles, etc. Personally, I don't find any problem with that--it's her hobby, and she spends hours every night taking care of their needs. They are safely enclosed, and I haven't heard of any of them escaping.
When I was a kid, I kept mice, small snakes, chameleons, guinea pigs, and a rabbit, all bought at a pet store. They didn't escape into the wild and upset the natural environment. I think that responsible ownership is an important issue here. Letting your boa constrictor escape because it's gotten too big to deal with is NOT responsible ownership.
Also, yes, there are cats and dogs dying daily in shelters, but does that mean that people shouldn't keep other animals as pets?
However, I am opposed to modern hybrid cat breeds that mix wild cats with moggies. The CFA doesn't recognize them, although TICA is more lenient. They have been banned in a number of places. If it comes to that, I'm not too keen on some of the other new breeds--Munchkins may or may not be deformed (there's a debate about this), and Sphynxes have very delicate skin, trouble with temperature control, and are high-maintenance.
As for people who want to keep real lions, tigers, and bears--THAT strikes me as dangerous and stupid.
In any event, taking an animal out of the wild always presents health and/or legal risks. A squirrel bought at your local pet shop--yes. A squirrel brought in from the woods--no.
Oh, and that brings up the issue of feral cats. Are they wild animals? Kaya Skye's recent rabies scare should remind us that ferals can pose their dangers, as well--not to mention that some are too feral to be socialized. They truly are "wild."
There are many issues involved here.
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