Is it cruel to keep exotic pets?

mmghosh's picture

Reading this caught my attention.


A village on Yemen's scorched Tihama plain is an incongruous home for African lions. Set back several miles from the nearest road and reached by a rough network of sandy paths and thorny gorse bushes, it is home to one of Yemen's newest and most unlikely businesses.


Lion breeding in Yemen seems as improbable a venture as salmon fishing. But rampant demand for exotic pets from collectors in the wealthy Gulf states has made this exercise in animal husbandry suddenly profitable.


Inside the compound, Hassan Bari proudly displays his merchandise. The eight lions were bought as juveniles just over four years ago, and Bari has recouped his initial investment from a first batch of captive-bred cubs. All six of his lionesses are pregnant, and he expects his next cubs to be available within a fortnight.


"I expect most of the cubs will be sold within days," he says "There is a big demand for these animals, and often individuals will buy as many as I have on offer."


The comments are especially illuminating.  In our culture, the keeping of pets is not common.  Far commoner is the notion that, dogs, say, are "community pets", to  be left to forage for themselves within or close to a human community.  In other parts it is common to have cows, pigs and so forth to wander the streets - specifically in many cases.  Animals are still trafficked for amusement and work - monkeys, bears and perhaps most terribly (as pointed out in the comments), social long-lived flighted creatures such as parrots.  A perceptive commenter thus

Dogs and humans are co-evolved, so they 'want to be with us', in the same way that pilot fish 'want to be with' sharks. The digestiive systems of dogs have evoved away from their wild ancestors so that they can digest cooked food.

And our co-evolution means that humans and dogs have a high degree of inter-species linguistic ability. (Which we take for granted). We dont realise that they are very interested in us and are constanty monitoring and trying to understand us.


The problem here, is that as human numbers bloom, and non human numbers plummet towards extinction, the value of commodifed non-human beings and their bodyparts skyrockets, thus increasing the pressure to further commodfy them.


We can see this happening with rhino horn, and blue fin tuna, and parrots... and so on.

Human persons interested in environmental restoration as well as the entitled free-living existence of non human beings in perpetuity, need to join an organisation like Population Matters and work to normalise the 'no more than two' ethos, as well as arguing for the complete ban in trade in free-living non-humans and their body parts.


A long process, I know. But are we a sentient species, or are we simply an extremely effective disease species?

Are we just the slo-mo equivalent of a giant meteorite crashing into a green and once highly biodiverse planet?

More about "canned hunting".

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Whew! Cold medicine and whiskey = reading fail


Thought the title was "Is it cruel to keep erotic pets?"  Had me thinking, it depends on whether your a donkey or a gerbil.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

You are, or you keep?

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

You've learned the first law of drugs

HankP's picture

if the label says "do not take with alcohol" it means "definitely take with alcohol".


BTW have I mentioned that it's now legal to possess and smoke marijuana in Washington?


I blame it all on the Internet

I knew we could count on you. -nt



Ok, so your mane problem is that I just


poo'd on this thread rather than make a lion pun.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome.