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Sunday, April 11, 2010

How to Know the Real Dangers of Exotic Animals

All the biased and sensationalistic information we are bombarded with concerning exotic pet ownership would have one believing we should all be dead because of the danger. This is far from the truth as animals have been kept through all of recorded history and we still survive. Perhaps the true “danger” in keeping exotic pets is in using biased opinion as fact, repeating it often enough until it is believed?

The first step is an easy one- look for information by searching for information. You can research a particular animal or in general. There are many sites that will overwhelm the first part of any search, mostly based on opinion such as “They belong in the wild.” This is opinion and as our world gets smaller we may be better off learning to live WITH them rather than WITHOUT them.

Next, use critical thinking to decide if what is being presented is opinion or fact. If it is presented as fact, research what the claims are based on. Statistics? Opinion again? It can be a hard area to discern since much is presented as fact when a larger part is actually based on one or two experiences, personal ideology or media sensationalism to attract viewers and readers.

Third, you will need to look harder to find factual statistics but they do exist. The resource section lists one site very useful for facts, not fiction or hype. As for primate diseases, herpes B is often claimed to be a reason for banning primates while the CDC admits in a letter to a person (posted on the site) there has not been even one case of herpes B transmitted to a human in the private sector.

Fourth, consider all the risky activities most everyone is accustomed to being a daily part of life. It puts things in perspective a little more when you see statistics for drowning in the bathtub, horseback riding injuries, race car driving, stairways and more. The CDC does the job it was intended to during the limited disease outbreak prairie dogs were part of. Prairie dogs have since been removed from the ban and are legal to sell and own again.

Fifth, if you consider the risks too great for you or your family the best thing you can do is- not have an exotic pet. No one expects everyone to sky dive or even use the stairs. It is, however, others’ right to take risk they deem acceptable. The statistics show there is not as much danger in owning an exotic pet as claimed by some with other agendas.