I think it is fair to say that we all got hooked on the show that absolutely everyone was watching during the lockdown. I am, of course, referring to The Tiger King, a show that followed the life of the exotic animal shelter owner, Joe Exotic.
The documentary series gave us an insight into the grim world of exotic pet ownership and showed the extent that people would go to to be the owner of some of the most exotic pets in the world. Though the documentary started by simply showing us all of the brilliant aspects of being an exotic pet owner, it quickly turned into something more sinister when a member of the exotic team, unfortunately, lost an arm while caring for a tiger.
This documentary enlightened us all to the world of exotic pet ownership, and if you, like me, we’re a little curious, you may have looked into more cases. It turns out that exotic pet ownership in the USA is more common than you may think. Before the events of the documentary encouraged public outcry, the laws concerning erotic pets in the USA were actually extremely relaxed.
The Old laws
Less than a year ago, there was almost complete freedom when it came to purchasing exotic animals. It was basically a case of as long as you can afford it, you can do it- as it is with most aspects of life. Those who did own exotic animals usually kept it quiet and only spoke with other exotic pet owners, which meant that not many people knew about the existence of home-owned exotic pets.
There were limitations on the pets that you could purchase and keep at home, and it was against the law to keep pets close to extinction as they needed to be within conservation parks.
Why was there a review of the laws?
There were several reasons why it was decided to implement new laws concerning exotic pet ownership, but one of the main reasons was the safety of the owners. You may be aware of a story about a woman who raised a monkey from infancy. This monkey was very kind-natured and lived with the family as though it was a child. However, something changed within him one day, and he attacked a family friend, completely ripping away her face.
A widespread misunderstanding among exotic pet owners was that if the animals were raised alongside humans, they would start to pick up human characteristics and forget about their animalistic side. This, of course, was not the case, as once the animals reached sexual maturity, they naturally picked up aggressive behavior patterns. No matter what you tried to do, you could not stop nature, making these animals incredibly dangerous.
If you think about an animal like a monkey or a wild cat, as they get older, they get incredibly large and incredibly strong, which human strength can not compare to. Many exotic pet owners even tried to give their aggressive animals cbd dog treats to try and calm them down, but of course, this did not work. Many exotic pets that people were bringing into their homes were natural predators, so their natural predator instincts would naturally start to set in overtime.
Another one of the main reasons why the regulations concerning exotic animal ownership changed was animal cruelty. When in the wild, animals have access to an endless landscape to explore and exercise in. If you have ever been to a zoo and felt as though the enclosure wasn’t big enough, think about how bad someone’s private property will be in comparison.
There was a lot of cruelty when it came to giving the animals the right diet, as the people that bought them did not understand what they had to eat and what they would have access to in the wild. This was especially the case for monkey owners, as due to their similarities to humans, people thought they could feed them like an ordinary child, which deprived the animals of all that they needed in terms of nutrients. The pet owners also didn’t consider that their food intake would have to triple as the animals got bigger. This was a big problem for exotic cat owners, as after sexual maturity, they would need a constant supply of meat to allow them to grow accordingly.
An inevitable part about owning an exotic animal was that they would eventually be released into the wild once they reached a certain age. The issue with being raised with humans their entire lives was that once the animals were ready to be released, they didn’t have any survival skills that they would have had if they were raised in the wild.
This means that many of the animals that were eventually released into the wild did not have the tools to survive, which meant that many of them died quite quickly for several reasons. The unfortunate thing is that many died simply because they didn’t know how to find the food they needed to survive, which they would have in the wild.