Written by Guest Blogger
an essay published this week in the Orlando Sentinel, reptile specialist Clifford Warwick—who has assisted PETA
with several cases, including our investigation into the notorious exotic-animal
dealer U.S. Global Exotics—spoke out about the abuse and neglect that is inherent in the
exotic "pet" trade:
Last week, a Brazilian man was
caught trying to smuggle 27 snakes wrapped in nylon hose and stashed inside
stereo speakers, checked as luggage, at Orlando International Airport. He allegedly admitted that he planned to breed them for
the pet trade.
Days earlier, a 17.5-foot-long
Burmese python was captured in the Everglades, probably at one time a pet [who] had been dumped or
In July, a baby in Illinois was
found with a python — believed to be a neighbor's escaped pet — biting and
contracting around his foot as he slept in his crib. . . .
Unfortunately, in my experience with
human and animal health, as well as wider issues of ecology, species
conservation and even economics, harm is inherent and almost universal in
exotic pet keeping. What is abnormal, derided and a prosecutable abuse of a
dog, such as keeping him or her almost constantly locked up in a small kennel,
is normal "care" for an exotic pet, whose life will almost certainly
be spent in a wooden and glass box, wire cage or aquarium.
Ironically, if exotic-pet keepers
saw a small dog or a cat imprisoned in a fish tank with a light bulb for warmth
and some crickets as food, then they, too, would recognize the outrageous
dearth of even basic humane provisions and view the treatment and the animal's
life as nothing less than abusive and cruel. …
Most reptile keepers I know are
passionate about their hobby, but their level of biological knowledge is,
frankly, appalling. …
It is predictable, then, that what
follows is animal stress, disease and death; a recent scientific analysis
conducted in the U.K. shows that three-quarters of all pet reptiles die in
their first year in the home — and that excludes the heavy trade-related losses
that are known to be around 70 percent within just six weeks. . . .
Almost weekly now, independent
scientific and medical evidence is emerging that reveals the depth of the
problems associated with exotic pet trading and keeping. Based on the evidence,
communities around the world are realizing that the only meaningful action is
to ban the commercial trade and, in some cases, also keeping. …
[P]ublic health and safety, animal
welfare and species and environmental protection easily outweigh the habit of
keeping wild animals where they do not belong, do not thrive and, more often
than not, die prematurely and badly.
Via the Orlando Sentinel
Written by Michelle Kretzer
Veterinarian Gene F. Giggleman has been formally
reprimanded and fined $2,500 by the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical
Examiners based on allegations of unprofessional and/or dishonorable conduct following
PETA's investigation at U.S.
Global Exotics (USGE), a massive exotic-animal
dealer where Giggleman was the attending veterinarian.
In this previously unreleased video footage,
Giggleman smashes squirrels' heads into a cinderblock and recommends that workers
cut sick snakes' heads off or "freeze 'em solid" in order to kill
The board found that Giggleman lost his
controlled-substances log and falsely signed legally required documents attesting
to the health of animals he had never examined so that they could be shipped
overseas for the exotic-pet trade.
Despite the board's findings, he is
still licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Texas and has retained his
job as a professor at Parker University in Dallas.
PETA's undercover investigation of USGE provided evidence of the abuse of more
than 27,000 animals and resulted in the seizure of the animals and the closure of the business. Facing federal charges in connection with violating
a wildlife protection order called the "Lacey Act," including
smuggling, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting, former USGE owner Jasen Shaw and his wife, Vanessa, fled the country and are believed to be hiding in New
Zealand. Interpol has issued a notice about Shaw and his arrest warrants.
Giggleman is still under investigation
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for his actions at USGE. Help ensure that
Giggleman is held accountable for all that he did at USGE by urging Sarah R.
Saldaña, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Texas, to
charge Giggleman with felony and/or misdemeanor violations of the Lacey Act.
Contact Saldaña through her office's
public information officer, Kathy Colvin.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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