Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rumblings of Exotic Pet Bans

As the RCMP continues the criminal investigation into the deaths of Noah and Connor Barthe, the industry has been talking non-stop about how and why this tragedy happened.  This week we had an emergency conference call with our industry colleagues from Canada and the US.  Beyond the grief and shock at what had happened, as we talked it became apparent that this is not just a Canadian issue, having touched people across the continent and beyond. While we wait to find out more details, heads of companies, associations and interest groups are working together in an effort to make sure accurate information is shared with the media and the public about exotic pet ownership and why this particular tragedy is an anomaly. 

In the last couple of days we have been hearing rumblings from places such as Montreal, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba that they are considering a review of their own policies regarding exotic pet ownership. Grief and anger often are the fuel for bans, reaction to this case seems to be no different.

The safety of people and animals must always be a priority.  As industry members we need to make ourselves available and engage in conversation with the media, public and government officials to offer sound and scientifically factual information regarding the safe keeping of exotic pets.   We have written a few times this week about the PIJAC Canada Exotic Animal Policy (see 3meter / 2meter rule), which has been used by municipalities and provinces across the country to develop their legislation.  

Two of the driving factors behind the policy were, to find a way to help ensure the safety of people and pets, and to offer a tool to help develop legislation which would lead to efficient, safe and rewarding pet experiences.   An incident such as the one in New Brunswick flies in the face of everything our industry has promoted.   Appropriate exotic animals that are kept as pets or in educational facilities offer a  gateway to a natural environment rarely seen in urban society which in turn affords an opportunity to expand our understanding about the world around us.

Our staff has given many interviews to the media this week and we welcome the opportunities to offer our expertise.  Being part of the conversation can help to guide the outcome of any situation so we applaud our members who have stepped up and spoken with reporters about responsible exotic pet ownership and encourage you, wherever possible, to be engaged in your community’s pet issue.

1 comment:

  1. As president of Canada's oldest herpetological society, we would like to be involved. I will research how to get involved and support PIJAK in our common effort.
    Anthony Sinn
    President of the Ottawa Amphibian and Reptile Association