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Charity calls for tighter regulation on ‘dangerous’ exotic pets
There are concerns that keeping wild animals in domestic settings could cause transmission of zoonotic diseases.

Born Free says keeping dangerous pets threatens the safety of animals and the public.

A wildlife charity has called for tighter regulations on dangerous wild animals being kept as pets, after their research revealed 2,700 dangerous animals being kept privately in Great Britain.

The charity, Born Free, says that keeping these animals as pets not only threatens their welfare, but also puts the general public at increased risk.

Research conducted by the charity revealed that more than 200 wild cats and 250 primates were being kept privately in Great Britain, under license by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. There were also 400 venomous snakes kept as pets – which the charity says is ten times more than are kept in zoos.

Born Free has expressed their concern at these statistics, stating that keeping wild animals as pets contributes to considerable animal suffering.

They say that these undomesticated animals have complex physical, psychological and social needs, which can not be met in captivity. This can lead to the animals suffering poor health and psychological damage, further increasing their danger to humans.

Born Free says that demand for wild animals to be kept as pets could put additional pressure on the wild populations of species which are already under threat.

There are also concerns that keeping wild animals in domestic settings could cause transmission of zoonotic diseases from the animals to humans.

Dr Mark Jones, head of policy at Born Free, said: “The UK likes to claim to be at the forefront of efforts to protect nature and improve the welfare of animals, yet our legislation governing the keeping of and trade in exotic pets is woefully outdated.

“The Dangerous Wild Animals Act should be overhauled as a matter of urgency, in order to phase out the private keeping of those species that clearly don’t belong in people’s homes."

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says that they carefully inspect prospective owners of such species.

It says that the Dangerous Wild Animals Act had been reformed in 2007, 2010 and 2018 to ensure the Act was effective. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 also imposes prison sentences and fines on animal owners who do not provide for welfare needs.

A spokesperson from Defra said: “Anyone wishing to keep an animal covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act must be carefully vetted and apply for a licence which sets out strict conditions under which the animals must be kept.

“We keep this legislation under regular review to ensure it remains effective in keeping the public safe. We have also increased the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty to five years, as well as bringing forward legislation to prohibit primates being kept as domestic pets.”

Image © Shutterstock

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RCVS Knowledge appoints Veterinary Evidence editor-in-chief

News Story 1
 RCVS Knowledge has welcomed Professor Peter Cockcroft as editor-in-chief for Veterinary Evidence.

A world-renowned expert in evidence-based veterinary medicine, Prof Cockcroft will lead the strategic development and editorial quality of the open-access journal. He was previously in the role from 2017-2020.

Katie Mantell, CEO of RCVS Knowledge, said: "We are excited about the extensive knowledge of evidence-based veterinary medicine and clinical veterinary research that Peter brings, and we look forward to working with him over this next phase of the journal's development." 

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In a statement, the group said the incident involved unauthorised external access to a limited number of its IT systems. As soon as the attack was discovered, the group took its IT systems temporarily offline, causing 'considerable operational disruption'.

It has warned that the security steps taken and ongoing plans to move its operational systems and IT infrastructure to the Cloud are likely to have an ongoing impact over a number of weeks.

Due to the risk that personal information was accessed, CVS has informed the Information Commissioner's Office. The company is working with third party consultants to investigate the incident.