10 Facts You Didn't Know About The Pet Trade

10 Facts You Didn't Know About The Pet Trade

Posted by Leanne Sturrock on Apr 18, 2017

As part of this week's focus on Animal Cruelty Awareness, we've put together a list of 10 things you may not have known about the pet trade. From the most-poached animal on earth to some shocking statistics about which nations are most complicit in this heinous activity, the pet trade is an ugly industry that requires urgent attention and action.

1) Possibly the most illegally traded animal in the world is the pangolin - poached more than 82 times as often as rhinos and at 1000 times more risk than tigers, this mammal faces sincere threat, with more than 100,000 being poached every year.

2) The illegal trade of animals is estimated to be valued at more than $10 billion (even up to $20 billiion), based on animal parts alone - that includes fins, scales, and horns.

3) In fact, the illegal pet trade is so lucrative that it is second only to the drugs trade, and is above even the weapon trade.

4) The largest market for illegal pet trade is China, though the United States are alarmingly not so far behind.

5) According to data collected in 2015, more illegal shipments of animals arrive through San Francisco than anywhere else in the USA.

6) In addition to this, It is thought that more tigers are kept in the back yards of the USA than there are tigers left in the wild - 5000 tigers are thought to be kept as part of the illegal pet trade in America, while there are only around 3000 tigers left in the wild today.


7) Disturbingly, it has been known for tigers to be purchased from as little as $300 - that's less than price of the average dog in America. (Note: consider supporting the adoption of dogs, rather than funding backyard breeding activities!)

8) The internet is more than instrumental in the orchestration of the pet trade: giraffes, black leopards, gorillas and chimpanzees can all be found for purchase online (with obscene price tags, too, especially given that the lives of these animals are priceless and that they should remain in the wild for free); more worryingly, these illegal websites are seldom that hard to find.

9) While the pet trade is horrific and immeasurably unfair, it's also incredibly stupid: the poaching of animals such as monkeys, reptiles and rodents often result in rabies, salmonella, herpes or even death for the 'owners' of these unfortunate animals.

10) It is thought that between 35,000-50,000 African elephants are poached per year; around three rhinos are poached per day; and around 28,300 freshwater turtles are traded each day – this proves that, no matter how big or small, too many animals are at risk of the illegal pet trade.

Stay with us throughout the rest of the week to learn more about the impact on animals across the globe, as part of our Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week coverage.


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