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Animal welfare
Suitability of species kept as pets
  1. Martin L. Whitehead and
  2. Charlotte Vaughan-Jones
  1. Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital, Banbury Road, Chipping Norton, Oxon OX7 5SY, e-mail:

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EXPERIENCE in practice, veterinary textbooks and numerous veterinary articles indicate that exotic/non-traditional pets experience deficient basic husbandry (eg, diet, temperature, lighting, UV lighting, humidity, substrate, presence or absence of conspecifics, management of hibernation, etc) more often, and to a greater degree, than domesticated/traditional pets and, thereby, suffer a higher rate of serious husbandry-related illnesses and welfare problems. However, comparisons of the degree of inappropriate husbandry across pet species are lacking. Therefore, delegates attending the British Veterinary Zoological Society conference on November 7 and 8, 2015 – all expected to be interested in, and many experienced with, a wide range of species – were asked to complete anonymously a single A4-sheet survey of their opinion regarding pets, with this wording:

‘Listed below are 14 pet species. Please take a minute or two to give your opinion on how well-suited each species is to the conditions they experience when kept as pets in the UK. Obviously, this is an important determinant of their welfare.

‘By “pet”, I mean a single person's …

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