NEW PETS: a fashion with harmful effects

For the past fifteen years, the fashion phenomenon of new pets exotic cannot be denied. Present in 5% of French households, they represent 10% of the animal population (3,5 million small mammals and 1 million snakes, turtles, lizards, spiders, etc.). Wild, with unknown needs and dangerousness, some of these animals would be taken illegally and / or endangered. This fashion would prove to be harmful for already fragile ecosystems and biodiversity.

What do we mean by NAC?

NACs are animals of unconventional company held by humans for their convenience, other than cats and dogs. 

This includes both:

-the pets such as rabbit, guinea pig, mouse, ferret and some species of birds and aquarium fish;

- the non-domestic animals not having undergone modifications by an ancient human selection, such as reptiles, arachnids, amphibians, monkeys, wild animals.

These may be species captured in the wild, from breeding, diverted from their utilitarian or food use or genetically modified.

Where does this interest in NACs come from? ?

With the evolution of lifestyles, the acquisition of a small animal seems at first glance less restrictive and less expensive. The effect of novelty and exoticism passed, it also seems easier to get rid of, like a disposable object. 

A predominantly urban phenomenon, the owner of NAC is between 20 and 35 years old, seeks novelty, exoticism and to distinguish himself, in addition to great enthusiasts. When they are acquired, the priority future is far from suspecting the obligations and the associated dangerousness.

Which legislation applies ?

Depending on their dangerousness, their protected nature, the invasive risks, their detention may require prefectural authorization or a certification of ability

Poisonous animals must be declared to the Directorate of Veterinary Services. Illegal detention is a crime that can lead to financial and criminal penalties. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) classifies species authorized for international trade. This convention is applied in various ways depending on the country.

What does the acquisition of a NAC require? ?

Wild and unsociable, to assure them of good living conditions means:

  • un adequate environment (reconstitution of their natural environment, place reserved);
  • a adapted diet (insects, small mammals, live fish, fruits, plants,…);
  • and specific health monitoring : few veterinarians specialize in NACs.

What are the risks and perverse effects of holding a NAC ?

  • the health hazards : some animals are carriers of diseases transmissible to humans (zoonoses) or are dangerous by nature, which can cause bites, scratches or poisoning. As some species of reptiles are crossed by their owner, there is no serum available;
  • the environmental hazards : released into a new ecosystem, some species become invasive, supplanting native species (Florida turtles, ring-necked parakeets, Korean boa or anacondas in Florida, etc.);
  • the dangers for the animal itself : the conditions of transport and the living conditions of their owner (stress, poor diet, etc.) lead to a real hecatomb (75% of snake and amphibian reptiles captured in the wild would survive less than a year);
  • la preservation of species one third of birds and mammals would be threatened by the often illegal trade in NACs, primates or tarantulas being particularly at risk;
  • theencouragement of illegal traffic : the rarer an animal, the more coveted it is, accelerating its extinction and boosting traffic which is increasing by 10% per year.

Far from being good-natured, the NAC phenomenon is proving particularly devastating for ecological balances, public health and ecosystems. 

In fact, removing a wild animal from its natural environment and appropriating it for its occasional enjoyment appears both irresponsible and reprehensible when it leads to its loss and the extinction of its species.