For months, regulations on exotic-pet ownership in Ohio has been bouncing around that state’s legislature. But, this week, there was a twist.
An Ohio animal-owners group had been helping lawmakers craft a bill on the issue. But, according to Associated Press reports via The Washington Post, the group is now “gunning for the bill’s demise.” Members of this group own everything from domestic cats to tigers.
A lobbyist for Ohio Association of Animal Owners said the group changed the game plan after an Ohio man released his menagerie of wild animals — most of which were killed by authorities — before killing himself.
As I keep up with the latest on this, I started wondering about the internet’s responsibility in the matter. Specifically: does the cute internet (so, lots of the internet) carry some responsibility for wild exotics? We certainly touch on the topic of exotics from time to time. In Vietnam last year, I learned that a lot of primates there are trafficked to be sold as pets. Everyone saw, squeed, and promptly OMG fainted after watching those sloths in pajamas. But after clicking around to learn more about The Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, I learned that the pet trade leads to a sizable share of sloth deaths. Paging Debbie Downer, I know.
I am certain I wouldn’t purchase a pet sloth, primate, or Bengal tiger. Just writing about the issue seals the deal, however many times I will (oh, and I will) watch the sloths-in-pajamas video. But many around the world don’t see it that way, especially when these animals sometimes look and act like domesticated baby animals. Furthermore, how does it apply to more common exotics: sugar gliders, certain reptiles, or ferrets, for example?
What do you think? Should the cute internet put a disclaimer on certain images and videos? Partner with the spotlighted rescue and rehab organizations? How do we pay more than lip service to the risks of exotic-pet ownership, if you think we have a responsibility to do so in the first place?
Photo: Fatty Tuna on Flickr.