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Are exotics suitable pets?
  1. Christian Lenzi,
  2. Chiara Grasso and
  3. Jessica Bell Rizzolo
  1. Associazione Eticoscienza, Via Valderoa 247, 00054 Fiumicino (RM), Italy
  2. Associazione Eticoscienza, Via Don Murialdo 15, 10072 Mappano (TO), Italy
  3. Department of Sociology, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Michigan State University, Berkey Hall 509 E Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
  1. email: christianlenzi.eticoscienza{at}

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The keeping of exotic species as companion animals has increased over the years. In Europe and the USA, over one third of all pets are exotic.1 This number does not account for the large number of illegal exotic pets. This trend has stark implications for public health, animal welfare and species conservation.

First, we must assess the risks to human health. Exotic species can transfer infectious diseases to people, for example, in circuses2 and petting zoos.3 Among the pathogens transmissible to people, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis are prevalent …

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