12.23.09

Another small animal mill busted.

Posted in Why We Recommend at 8:26 am by Jenn

In the news recently, the big story in exotics was the raid on US Global Exotics — one of the biggest exotic animal suppliers in the United States.  Over 20,000 animals were seized from rancid conditions.  Many were dead or dying, and there were many reports of starving animals cannibalizing each other.  Since the initial bust, health specialists have recommend razing the building to the ground.

Clifford Warwick, a reptile and human health expert flown in to assist with the massive case said the following:

“It’s my firm view as a health specialist these animals could not be returned to that facility,” Warwick said. “It is a rampant reservoir of potential infection.

Warwick said he found no evidence of disease control at the business, which he said reeked “of death and decay on a mammoth and overwhelming scale” the day of the raid.

Despite this, the owners of the firm have released statements through their lawyers that clearly this is just a PETA agenda to get people to stop owning pets.  This stands sharply in contrast with an SPCA spokeswoman’s statement:

“One of the most heartbreaking things I saw was hundreds of deceased iguanas. I stopped counting at 200,” said Maura Davies, spokeswoman for the SPCA. “There were dozens more.”

Often, people think of these cases as “one off” situations, where bad people take advantage of lax laws, but it is unfortunately a pattern with pet store suppliers (this mirrors undercover footage and pictures found at Rainbow Exotics — Petsmart’s biggest supplier).  You cannot produce 200 guinea pigs a week, or 400 rabbits, or 1,000 hamsters in sterling conditions.   You cannot make money off of breeding an animal with care, respect, and adequate medical supplies.  At our rescue, we average $250 per intake!  And often that’s simply to deal with minor health problems or to insure that the animals are, in fact, healthy.  That’s not even counting the cost of pre-natal care for these animals, some of which have notoriously high complication rates.  The sad reality is that these rodents mills are even more poorly policed than puppy mills, and (as attested to by this recent bust) are rampant with infectious disease and poor husbandry.  In fact, recent studies done from large hamster mills have shown that all of the hamsters studied were carrying some type of pathogen, even if they weren’t actively infected with it!

We urge everyone looking to acquire a new pet to think carefully about where that animal comes from and what it is exposed to before it arrives at your house.   These well meaning purchases often end in heartbreak (we get a couple of emails per week from folks who have purchased from local big box pet stores with recently dead animals who now want to adopt), and serve to fuel a never-ending cycle of supply and demand.

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