Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute

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Born Free USA's Exotic 'Pets' Campaign

Across the United States, millions of exotic animals are kept captive in people's homes. The trade in exotic animals is a multibillion-dollar industry, and exotic animals are bred, sold and traded in large numbers. But these animals — including, among other species, lions, tigers, cougars, wolves, bears, monkeys, alligators and venomous snakes and other reptiles — pose grave dangers to human health and safety. By their very nature, exotic animals are unpredictable and are incapable of being domesticated or tamed.

(Watch a short video in which our chief executive officer, Will Travers, talks about this campaign.)

Born Free USA campaigns against exotic "pets" in a number of ways, such as initiating and promoting legislative efforts at all levels of government to ban exotic "pets" or, at the very least, tighten regulations in a way that helps the animals. We also maintain a unique tool, our online Exotic Animal Incidents database, which gives advocates, lawmakers and members of the press access to information about exotic animal escapes and attacks. Our innovative Pet Shop Locator points compassionate consumers toward stores that don't sell live animals. Born Free USA will continue to do all it can to end the despicable practice of possessing wild animals as "pets."

LEARN: Recent Developments

What's happening on the ground around the world to wild animals who are forced to be someone's "pet"?

  • Some 50 exotic animals are killed by authorities after being let out of their backyard cages by a suicidal "owner" in Ohio.
  • A "pet" monkey escapes from a house in Tennessee, bites a bystander and is shot dead — one of many such occurrences in the past year.
  • Michael Vick, who for a time was imprisoned on charges related to dogfighting, now has a "pet" parrot. Seriously.
  • Pop sensation Justin Bieber wants to possess a boa constrictor. Seriously.
  • Louis Tomlinson, the lead singer for the boy band One Direction, wants a "pet" monkey. Seriously.

BORN FREE USA: On the Front Lines

  • On the federal level, we continue to press ahead in support of the Captive Primate Safety Act and the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. The U.S .Senate is considering the primates bill today!
  • In Ohio, we're pushing hard to help prevent another Zanesville-type massacre.
  • In New Jersey, we're pushing hard to protect tigers.
  • In West Virginia, we initiated a bill to restrict the private possession of wild animals. In March it was signed into law.
  • In New York, we spearheaded an important exotic "pets" bill.
  • In Missouri, Rhode Island and Tennessee, we worked to restrict the private possession of primates.
  • Our National Bird Day received an official proclamation of support in Congress.
  • Mound Pet Food Warehouse in Sun Prairie, WI, won Born Free USA's first Compassionate Pet Supply Store of the Year award.

ACT: What You Can Do

  • Learn the laws of the land. Does your state ban or regulate the keeping of wild exotic animals as pets? Check out our map to find out. If your state does not currently have laws and/or regulations, write to your state legislators, urging them to pass a law prohibiting the keeping of exotic animals as pets. Be sure to send us a copy of your letter.
  • Want to know if the wild animals in your community are being kept as "pets" or by a bona fide wildlife sanctuary? See if the operation is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
  • Help us expand our Pet Shop Locator database of responsible pet supply stores that don't sell live animals of any kind by submitting information about your local responsible retailer.
  • Don't shop at stores that sell live animals. The fact is, in a retail environment animals are treated like mere commodities in order for the store to realize a profit. This often leads to animal suffering — especially when cute babies become expensive adults.
  • Parrots and all the world's other winged wonders should not live in cages. Celebrate National Bird Day, which we launched more than a decade ago, every Jan. 5.
  • Born Free USA makes monetary contributions to parrot protection efforts in Honduras and Cameroon as part of our Global Field Projects. The impact of the pet trade on wild parrot populations is devastating, with parrot species more globally threatened than almost any other major group of birds.
  • Do you tweet? Or blog? Write something personal about why exotic animals such as lions, tigers, bears, and nonhuman primates belong in the wild and not in peoples' homes — and let us know about it.
  • Don't patronize establishments that have exotic animals on the premises such as roadside zoos, restaurants or hotels.
  • Decide to make a difference for companion animals truly in need of a home and our companionship — save a dog or cat by adopting from your local animal shelter!

CONTRIBUTE: Our Auction Ends Tomorrow!

Until 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT tomorrow (Friday, June 22), Born Free USA is auctioning off exciting and unique items to raise money for our work to save the lives of animals. Movies, books, jewelry, hats, vacations and even baseball cards are up for grabs. Check it out! All proceeds go toward Born Free USA's work for animals. Good luck!

Born Free USA offers several other ways in which you can contribute financially to our fight against exotic "pets." Please consider doing one (or more!) of the following:

Make a one-time donation. Contribute to our Scarlet Macaw Project. Sponsor a parrot or "adopt" a primate. Purchase one of our plush toys.

HAVE FUN! Enter Our Photo, Essay Contests

Grab a camera and participate in our second annual Keep Wildlife in the Wild Photo Contest, or encourage a young person to enter our inaugural "How I'm Going Wild for Animals This Summer" essay contest.

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