In Australia, most exotic pets are permitted by the Federal Government. Some of these are acquired through wildlife imports. This practice is regulated under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (“EBPC Act”),
Under the EBPC Act, exotic animals include hundreds of species of mammals (e.g. lions, tigers, orangutans, gorillas), reptiles (e.g. snakes, alligators, lizards, turtles), amphibians (e.g. frogs, toads), birds (e.g. canaries, penguins, wild turkeys, geese) and fish
This law also bans the commercial trading of exotic amphibians and reptiles from overseas. However, local species of crocodiles and snakes are permitted, and many exotic bird and fish species remain largely open for ownership under Australian jurisdiction.
The exact number of exotic pets in Australia remains unknown, as most local councils do not require them to be registered.
There are fears that keeping exotic pets threatens biosecurity and animal welfare. The Queensland Government has published guidelines aimed at reducing health risks associated with the ownership of these animals. The guide also includes legal obligations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of animals.
Should the ownership of exotic animals be outlawed in order to uphold biosecurity and ensure animal welfare?
The National, ‘Exotic pets pose safety risks’.
The Conversation, ‘Trading in extinction: how the pet trade is killing off many animal species’.
Big Think, ‘Exotic animals bad for human health’.
The Conversation, ‘Alien invaders: the illegal reptile trade is a serious threat to Australia’.
The Conversation, ‘Dear Santa, please don’t deliver exotic pets for Christmas!’.
The Independent, ‘Animal farms in Southeast Asia fuel an illegal trade in rare wildlife’.
The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Imported snakes creating a potential disaster for Australia’.
The New York Times, ‘Debating whether reptiles or amphibians should be house pets’.
The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Monster or moggie? Claws out in catfight’.
Above, ref. 9.
The Huffington Post, ‘Does everyone have a right to keep pets?’.