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MARTIN Whitehead (VR, May 7, 2016, vol 178, p 477) excellently briefs readers on some of the increasingly recognised major problems of exotic pet selling and keeping; for example, that both animals and their keepers may become innocent victims of ill-informed decisions to acquire pets, the lack of good quality husbandry information and – more fundamentally – the poor adaptability of many species to captivity.
In our view, these now well-acknowledged problems are largely caused by the evidential laxity associated with trade-derived information that is often based on hearsay, bad habits and guesswork, and driven by a profit incentive. This aspect needs to be alleviated by instituting a rigorous evidential basis for husbandry guidance.
In our experience, guidance produced by vested interests is often heavily misleading in terms of its promotion of animals as ‘easy to keep’. Independent, impartial, scientific, evidence-based guidance regarding the challenges of keeping any animal as a pet (for example, the free-to-use ‘EMODE’ system [Warwick and others 2014]) is essential to facilitate informed …