In the wake of the seizure of more than 26,000 exotic animals from an American company, the PETA Foundation is calling on DEFRA to ban the sale of exotic species in the UK and prohibit their importation into the country.

In the wake of the seizure of more than 26,000 exotic animals from an American company, the PETA Foundation is calling on DEFRA to ban the sale of exotic species in the UK and prohibit their importation into the country.
 
slothApproximately 26,000 lemurs, wallabies, sloths, hamsters, gerbils, hedgehogs, snakes, lizards, spiders and other animals were seized from US Global Exotics (USGE) – an international exotic-animal operation based in Arlington, Texas – in December 2009, in what is claimed to be the largest seizure of its kind in US history.
 
USGE deals in hundreds of thousands of animals each year and counts at least three UK companies among its customers.
 
The raid came after a PETA US undercover investigator who spent seven months working inside the facility showed that tens of thousands of animals – including dozens of lizards, turtles, hamsters, prairie dogs and hedgehogs – were crammed for weeks into cardboard boxes, plastic bottles and bins. The animals often went without water or food and were piled on top of each other, causing widespread disease and cannibalism.
 
Every day, dozens and sometimes hundreds of animals died of starvation, dehydration and untreated illnesses and injuries. USGE employees threw live squirrels, lizards, a chinchilla and snakes into a freezer to die, and they also dumped dying animals into the facility’s rubbish bins amidst rotting remains.
 
decomposing lizardAt least three UK companies – Darlington-based Coast to Coast Exotics Inc, Essex-based Peregrine Livefoods Ltd and Manchester-based PM Aquatic Imports – are USGE customers. These UK companies would have sold the animals to other buyers or shops.
 
PETA’s Poorva Joshipura said: “This case reveals the appalling but routine abuse and neglect found in the exotic-pet trade. Animals were snatched out of their natural habitats and shipped thousands of miles to the US, only to be repacked for gruelling journeys to the UK and other countries. Anyone who gives their business to pet shops that sell exotic animals may be unwittingly supporting this cruelty.”

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