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Tonbridge, United Kingdom

Warwick C.,Emergent Disease Foundation | Steedman C.,Emergent Disease Foundation | Jessop M.,Ash Veterinary Group | Toland E.,Animal Protection Agency | Lindley S.,United Road Services
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

Pet animal management is subject to varied husbandry practices and the resulting consequences often impact negatively on animal welfare. The perceptions held by someone who proposes to keep an animal regarding the ease or difficulty with which its biological needs can be provided for in captivity are key factors in whether that animal is acquired and how well or poorly it does. We propose a system to 'score' animals and assign them to categories indicating the ease or difficulty with which they can be kept as pets in accordance with welfare and public health and safety considerations. The 'EMODE' ('Easy', 'Moderate', 'Difficult', 'Extreme') system has two fundamental components: animal welfare-which considers the 'five freedoms' principles; and public health and safety-which considers management associated with risks from disease or injury to the keeper and to others. EMODE incorporates two tiers of assessment and guidance, and may offer a reasonable guide for the majority of relevant animals. EMODE Tier 1 provides a primary and general assessment of animals by class or group, and EMODE Tier 2 provides a secondary refined assessment of animals by species or breed. EMODE offers a user-friendly and versatile foundation concept for the future development of guidance for the layperson who may be considering acquiring a pet or for certain personnel when considering assigning species to restrictive lists of suitable animals, for example, 'positive lists' as used by governments to control animals in trade and keeping. © 2013 The Author(s). Source

Arena P.C.,Murdoch University | Warwick C.,Emergent Disease Foundation | Steedman C.,Emergent Disease Foundation
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

Various captivity-related health problems have been described as arising in the farming of sea turtles at the Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF). Our study included a desktop review of turtle farming, direct onsite inspection at the CTF, assessment of visual materials and reports provided by investigators from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), and a limited analysis of water quality for potential pathogens. In particular, we assessed physical and behavioural condition of animals for signs of stress, injury and disease. During the onsite inspection we identified three distinct signs of physical injury and disease, six distinct signs of abnormal and problematic arousal- and discomfort-related behaviour; and three distinct signs of normal quiescence- and comfort-related behaviour. On evaluation of evidence provided by the WSPA we identified ten distinct signs of physical injury and disease, and managementor genetic-related conditions; six distinct signs of abnormal and problematic arousaland discomfort-related behaviour; and three distinct signs of normal quiescence- and comfort-related behaviour. We conclude that sea turtles at the CTF manifested important physical and behavioural signs that are indicative of problematic management and captivity-related stress, and the limitations of sea turtle adaptive plasticity in captivity. The problematic physical and behavioural signs, in our view, related to the inherent nature of intensive turtle propagation which in particular involves overt- and cryptoovercrowding and understimulating environments, and an associated failure to meet all the physical, biological and innate behavioural needs of sea turtles. © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013. Source

Ashley S.,Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals | Brown S.,Midwest Bird and Exotic Animal Hospital | Ledford J.,University of California at Davis | Martin J.,University of Georgia | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science

The authors formally investigated a major international wildlife wholesaler and subsequently confiscated more than 26,400 nonhuman animals of 171 species and types. Approximately 80% of the nonhuman animals were identified as grossly sick, injured, or dead, with the remaining in suspected suboptimal condition. Almost 3,500 deceased or moribund animals (12% of stock), mostly reptiles, were being discarded on a weekly basis. Mortality during the 6-week "stock turnover" period was determined to be 72%. During a 10-day period after confiscation, mortality rates (including euthanasia for humane reasons) for the various taxa were 18% for invertebrates, 44.5% for amphibians, 41.6% for reptiles, and 5.5% for mammals. Causes of morbidity and mortality included cannibalism, crushing, dehydration, emaciation, hypothermic stress, infection, parasite infestation, starvation, overcrowding, stress/injuries, euthanasia on compassionate grounds, and undetermined causes. Contributing factors for disease and injury included poor hygiene; inadequate, unreliable, or inappropriate provision of food, water, heat, and humidity; presumed high levels of stress due to inappropriate housing leading to intraspecific aggression; absent or minimal environmental enrichment; and crowding. Risks for introduction of invasive species through escapes and/or spread of pathogens to naive populations also were identified. Copyright Taylor & Francis. Source

Warwick C.,Emergent Disease Foundation | Steedman C.,Emergent Disease Foundation
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine

A variety of exotic vertebrate and invertebrate species are kept as 'pets' including fishes, amphibians (for example, frogs and toads), reptiles (turtles, crocodiles, lizards and snakes), birds, mammals (for example, primates, civets, and lions), and invertebrates (for example spiders, scorpions, and centipedes), and ownership of some of these animals is rising. Data for 2009-2011 suggest that the number of homes with reptiles rose by approximately 12.5%. Recent surveys, including only some of these animals, indicated that they might be present in around 18.6% of homes (equal to approximately 42 million animals of which around 40 million are indoor or outdoor fish). Many exotic 'pets' are capable of causing injury or poisoning to their keepers and some contacts prove fatal. We examined NHS Health Episode Statistics for England using selected formal categories for hospital admissions and bed days for 2004-2010 using the following categories of injury, envenomation or sting; bitten or struck by crocodile or alligator; bitten or crushed by other reptiles: contact with venomous snakes and lizards; contact with scorpions. Between 2004 and 2010 these data conservatively show a total of 760 full consultation episodes, 709 admissions and 2,121 hospital bed days were associated with injuries probably from exotic pets. Injuries, envenomations and stings from exotic pets constitute a small but important component of emerging medical problems. Greater awareness of relevant injuries and medical sequelae from exotic pet keeping may help medics formulate their clinical assessment and advice to patients. Source

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