Feeding live food to pets, conflicting with Vegetarianism. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-18-2010, 05:10 PM
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So I have been vegetarian for about 5 years now, but I recently got a new pet which is a Bearded Dragon. For anyone who doesn't know they are a breed of native Australian lizard. A staple in his diet to keep him happy and healthy is live crickets.

I can't really avoid having to feed him live food as there really is no substitute for these creatures. I feed him things like broccoli and apple as well, but he needs the live crickets to be healthy. Now some people have pointed out that as a vegetarian it should be wrong for me to feed live animals to another animal, and in a way they are right.

I do try and look after the crickets though, I feed them fresh carrot to keep them healthy and they live in a large container with a lot of space to move around. Truthfully with the brain the size of a crickets brain they probably don't even know anything is wrong. And when I do feed my lizard the crickets their death is instant, so I assume somewhat painless. It's just one quick bite and they are gone.

But what do you all think, as a vegetarian is it wrong for me to be feeding my animal on live food?
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#2 Old 12-18-2010, 05:12 PM
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It's part of the circle of life. Don't feel guilty about it.
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#3 Old 12-18-2010, 06:10 PM
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So I have been vegetarian for about 5 years now, but I recently got a new pet which is a Bearded Dragon. For anyone who doesn't know they are a breed of native Australian lizard. A staple in his diet to keep him happy and healthy is live crickets.

I can't really avoid having to feed him live food as there really is no substitute for these creatures. I feed him things like broccoli and apple as well, but he needs the live crickets to be healthy. Now some people have pointed out that as a vegetarian it should be wrong for me to feed live animals to another animal, and in a way they are right.

I do try and look after the crickets though, I feed them fresh carrot to keep them healthy and they live in a large container with a lot of space to move around. Truthfully with the brain the size of a crickets brain they probably don't even know anything is wrong. And when I do feed my lizard the crickets their death is instant, so I assume somewhat painless. It's just one quick bite and they are gone.

But what do you all think, as a vegetarian is it wrong for me to be feeding my animal on live food?

I agree with starling; you are caring for your companion animal the way it is meant to be cared for.

Plenty of vegetarians/vegans have cats as pets knowing that cats need meat to live. I don't see any problem with it at all. I wouldn't be bothered by feeding crickets to an animal but I would draw the line at feeding live mice, rats, or rabbits to another animal which is why I don't keep snakes or very large lizards as pets.
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#4 Old 12-18-2010, 06:28 PM
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I agree with starling; you are caring for your companion animal the way it is meant to be cared for.

Plenty of vegetarians/vegans have cats as pets knowing that cats need meat to live. I don't see any problem with it at all. I wouldn't be bothered by feeding crickets to an animal but I would draw the line at feeding live mice, rats, or rabbits to another animal which is why I don't keep snakes or very large lizards as pets.

Frozen/thawed is also an option.
Also, if you think about it.. a vegetarian that has a carnivore pet is still better than an omnivore that has a carnivore pet. Just how I see it anyway.. lol.. I have carnivore pets too.

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#5 Old 12-18-2010, 06:42 PM
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Thanks guys. I personally have been okay with the feeding of crickets, but you know how some people just like to pick on vegetarians about every little thing they can think of, well I've been getting a hard time from some people about it.
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#6 Old 12-19-2010, 01:39 AM
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this is absurd. you have a responsibility for your pet, you should feed him what he would eat in real life. he eats crickets, so give him crickets
Most of them try to get into a discussion and maybe they try to show that you are wrong because you are different.

I have a dog and a cat and I feed them with omni food and from time to time I give them raw meat (very disgusting for me, but necessary for them). Some people said I am a hypocrite, but there is a difference between me and my dog. I can be healthy with eggs, milk and vegetables.
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#7 Old 12-19-2010, 05:49 AM
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Thanks guys. I personally have been okay with the feeding of crickets, but you know how some people just like to pick on vegetarians about every little thing they can think of, well I've been getting a hard time from some people about it.

You are more concerned about getting a hard time from others than the wellbeing of your pet.

Mind Blown
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#8 Old 12-19-2010, 07:03 AM
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Frozen/thawed is also an option.
Also, if you think about it.. a vegetarian that has a carnivore pet is still better than an omnivore that has a carnivore pet. Just how I see it anyway.. lol.. I have carnivore pets too.

I don't object to people keeping carnivore pets. I just don't want to feed live rodents to other animals which is why I personally do not keep large snakes or amphibians as pets.

Frozen/thawed never worked with my brother's snakes. They wouldn't touch them.
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#9 Old 12-19-2010, 07:58 AM
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My snakes won't eat pinkies either. They do like hard boiled eggs though.

If someone actually asked about or got snippy about you feeding your lizard crickets, I would just tell them that your lizard isn't you and he needs his crickets to live, and let that be the end of it. I see nothing wrong with owning pets that eat meat, as long as they're being taken care of the right way and not being forced to try to be something they're not.

That said, be careful when you're buying the crickets. My boyfriend's best friend just lost both her bearded dragons three months ago because PetSmart had dusted their crickets with calcium, and the dust was contaminated with something. I can't remember what it was, though. Apparently there were some dead ones in the cricket cage and she didn't take that into consideration that time, thinking nothing was wrong, and then her little lizards died.

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#10 Old 12-19-2010, 08:14 AM
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I've given my input about this subject many times, so I'll keep it short: the animal is not you. You are veg*n. The animal is not, and there is no way it will be. If the animal is not to die, it must be fed what it eats.
The best solution to this problem would be to give the crickets good care. If you have mealworms, don't refrigerate them. You can look up an easy way to care for them and even breed them to get more, or just dumping them in a jar and feeding them carrots is okay too. I like to make sure that the prey has a fair chance - the crickets have the entire cage to roam around, plenty of hiding spaces, water to drink, moss to eat (and carrots/lettuce sometimes). Of course the gecko will most likely find them before they die of natural causes, but they do, in no terms, have bad lives before they die.
So basically, it's a necessary evil, emphasis on the term necessary, and it's not really even evil actually, it's just our closest approximation to the way things work in the wild.

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#11 Old 12-19-2010, 02:27 PM
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You are more concerned about getting a hard time from others than the wellbeing of your pet.

Mind Blown

I don't get the impression she is more concerned about others, just concerned. She clearly cares for her pet. Confused...
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#12 Old 12-19-2010, 04:05 PM
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But what do you all think, as a vegetarian is it wrong for me to be feeding my animal on live food?

The issue isn't so much what to feed the animal once you have acquired him, but why you have acquired him in the first place.

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#13 Old 12-19-2010, 04:13 PM
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You are more concerned about getting a hard time from others than the wellbeing of your pet.

Mind Blown


Umm this was never the case at all. I never once said I would stop feeding the Dragon crickets, even if it meant others thought things of me. My pet's wellbeing, all of my pets wellbeings in fact are a very high priority for me. I merely started this thread because I was interested in seeing other vegetarians opinions on this topic.
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#14 Old 12-19-2010, 04:17 PM
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The issue isn't so much what to feed the animal once you have acquired him, but why you have acquired him in the first place.

glad its not just me thinking this. I would never obtain a pet which involved me feeding it live insects/animals. Of course the lizard has to eat, and fair enough if you got the pet as an omni, but to choose to own one after going veggie is a bit odd to me.

I see live feeding different to feeding a cat/dog meat, before anyone brings that up.
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#15 Old 12-19-2010, 04:28 PM
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I have a beardie too! They are AMAZING pets... I love them! I have had 2 that Ive rescued.

Just wanted to pop in and ask... How old is your little one? When they are young, they do eat mainly buggies. But once they are mature (1 1/2 - 2yrs old) their diet should consist of 80% veggies, and only 20% live food. So you really dont even need to feed them many bugs. If you feed crickets, an adult would eat around 50/week. If you feed super worms or another more "meatier" feeder like roaches, they only need 30-35 a week. I feed my boy supers, and he LOVES them.
Babies, on the other hand, will easily devour 300+ crickets a week, and you cant really get around that. :/
Oh, and I noticed that you said you are feeding him apples and broccoli... Those are OK as treats, but they arent good staple foods. Collard greens, mustard greens, dandilion greens, turnip greens, and squash are all very healthy staple veggies for them. If you havent tried squash yet, you HAVE to: They go absolutely crazy for it!
Here is a really good nutrition chart for them, if you want to check it out:
http://www.beautifuldragons.503xtreme.com/Nutrition.html

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#16 Old 12-19-2010, 04:53 PM
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This is crazy. People really try everything to make it look as if we are wrong, eh? I buy my cat omni food because she is a carnivore. She needs her meat, I can live without it. I don't believe that animals shouldn't eat each other. It is perfectly fine for a lion to eat an antilope or for a lizard to have his crickets. But there is a big difference between us and them.

I also don't think it is wrong for a veg*n to get a pet that needs live animals to eat. Those animals need to be cared for too
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#17 Old 12-19-2010, 07:29 PM
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I have a beardie too! They are AMAZING pets... I love them! I have had 2 that Ive rescued.

Just wanted to pop in and ask... How old is your little one? When they are young, they do eat mainly buggies. But once they are mature (1 1/2 - 2yrs old) their diet should consist of 80% veggies, and only 20% live food. So you really dont even need to feed them many bugs. If you feed crickets, an adult would eat around 50/week. If you feed super worms or another more "meatier" feeder like roaches, they only need 30-35 a week. I feed my boy supers, and he LOVES them.
Babies, on the other hand, will easily devour 300+ crickets a week, and you cant really get around that. :/
Oh, and I noticed that you said you are feeding him apples and broccoli... Those are OK as treats, but they arent good staple foods. Collard greens, mustard greens, dandilion greens, turnip greens, and squash are all very healthy staple veggies for them. If you havent tried squash yet, you HAVE to: They go absolutely crazy for it!
Here is a really good nutrition chart for them, if you want to check it out:
http://www.beautifuldragons.503xtreme.com/Nutrition.html

Thanks, I have actually been to that website before but I find it hard to find some of those foods. I can find squash, but I've never even heard of collard greens, mustard greens etc etc. And I've worked in a fruit and veg store for the last year. I think maybe that website is from the US or something and we may use different terms here but yeah, so far I can't find them. I mean what the hell is a collard green anyway?
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#18 Old 12-19-2010, 09:22 PM
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I think maybe that website is from the US or something and we may use different terms here but yeah, so far I can't find them. I mean what the hell is a collard green anyway?

its called kale in aus. its basically a curly spinach related to the cabbage. its very nutritious. its not common place in supermarkets or veg shops but you can get it at some veg markets. i grew some in my previous house because i found it a bit of a pain to get hold of when i needed it.


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Oh, and I noticed that you said you are feeding him apples and broccoli... Those are OK as treats, but they arent good staple foods. Collard greens, mustard greens, dandilion greens, turnip greens, and squash are all very healthy staple veggies for them. If you havent tried squash yet, you HAVE to: They go absolutely crazy for it!

Here is a really good nutrition chart for them, if you want to check it out:
http://www.beautifuldragons.503xtreme.com/Nutrition.html

lol. bearded dragons are native to the aussie bush & desert. finding collard greens, turnip greens & squash in those conditions is gonna be as rare as rocking horse sh!t so they are not their staple foods even if they quite like them. if people must persist in wanting to "own" these native animals who imo, should be left out in the bush, dont try to make urban health nuts out of them, just keep it simple and feed them some insects, basic fruit & veg & some meat.in the bush they eat other small lizards.
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#19 Old 12-20-2010, 03:08 AM
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Yes I always found it strange that they called those things staple diets, despite the fact that they can in no way be found in their natural habitat.

Thanks for the info, I have heard of Kale before, I've just never heard it be called Collard Greens.
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#20 Old 12-20-2010, 11:34 AM
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Kale and collard greens are not the same thing. I feed both to my rabbit, so I know the difference. Collards are large, flat leaves, while kale is curly. And kale usually inspires a happy dance in rabbits, while collards rarely do.

The question I'm wondering is why you adopted such a pet in the first place, and where you got him from. Was he a rescue? If he was bred specifically to be a pet, and you bought him from a store or breeder, then you're directly contributing to the supply and demand of such animals, and to the crickets that you feed him.

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#21 Old 12-20-2010, 04:41 PM
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its called kale in aus. its basically a curly spinach related to the cabbage. its very nutritious. its not common place in supermarkets or veg shops but you can get it at some veg markets. i grew some in my previous house because i found it a bit of a pain to get hold of when i needed it.

lol. bearded dragons are native to the aussie bush & desert. finding collard greens, turnip greens & squash in those conditions is gonna be as rare as rocking horse sh!t so they are not their staple foods even if they quite like them. if people must persist in wanting to "own" these native animals who imo, should be left out in the bush, dont try to make urban health nuts out of them, just keep it simple and feed them some insects, basic fruit & veg & some meat.in the bush they eat other small lizards.

Kale is entirely different... It is high in oxalates (Oxalates bind with calcium) so it should only be used as a treat.

And even though they dont find those foods in the wild, they make great staples in captivity. Just throwing any random fruits and veggies in for them is a pretty stupid idea: Like I just mentioned, some veggies are really high in oxalates (Thats why spinich, kale, broccoli, ect shouldnt be fed often), some (like lettuce) have next to no nutrition, and some have too much vitamin A (like carrots), and can be harmful if fed too often. You have to make sure that they are getting the right nutrition, just like any other pet.

Feeding them other vertabrates is a pretty stupid and risky thing to do too. Ever heard of impaction, or fatty liver disease? Ive heard plenty of stories about beardies dieing from being fed lizards, mice, ect. Just because they might eat it in the wild doesnt mean that it is good for them. Heck, they will eat pennies if you let them.

If you are going to tell other people how to take care of their pets, please actually know something about caring for them first.

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#22 Old 12-21-2010, 07:18 AM
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Feeding them other vertabrates is a pretty stupid and risky thing to do too. Ever heard of impaction, or fatty liver disease? Ive heard plenty of stories about beardies dieing from being fed lizards, mice, ect. Just because they might eat it in the wild doesnt mean that it is good for them. Heck, they will eat pennies if you let them.



i reckon you need to take off your city girl goggles, go visit the the aussie outback, see the hard as **** conditions out there where these animals are meant to live, & then come back and talk to me about what food these animals can survive on.
people need to care for their pets for sure, but you being this full on about balancing the nutrients in the diet of a lizard built for extreme conditions, is totally unecessary. when people show that they need something to fuss over & domesticate this much, they really oughta consider getting a dog, or perhaps a human baby.

please people, next time youre thinking about getting a pet, think about leaving the lizards where they belong >>> in the aussie bush & desert, not your backyard
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#23 Old 12-21-2010, 07:37 AM
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The issue isn't so much what to feed the animal once you have acquired him, but why you have acquired him in the first place.

This.

I've had my cat, Moco, since 2000. I've only been vegan for a year and a half. I made a commitment to Moco a long time ago, and I absolutely refuse to go back on that. She will be cared for, in a way that is best for HER, for as long as she lives. Period. While some people think cats can eat a veg*n diet, I think that's absurd. So she gets meat-based food. I do try to get humane-sourced meat (I know that's an oxymoron, but I think organic, healthy food is better for Moco anyway.) And I do feel guilty about it. But not half as guilty as I'd feel if I let down an animal I made a personal commitment to.

In the future, I will have serious thinking to do. Because I love cats. I get along with cats. I have had 9 cats live with me over the years and I've found that we can lead very harmonious lives together. But if I have room and time to adopt X amount of animals, why wouldn't I adopt veg*n ones?
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#24 Old 12-21-2010, 01:18 PM
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I think that in reality it is up to you. If you have no problem with it then who cares what other think?

Semi Charmed hit it on the head with the continuing to care for a pet you are already committed to the best you can for THEM.

We are not lizards, our nutritional needs are entirely different. Each pet owner has the responsibility to practice proper husbandry to the animal they are bringing home, and each person should make sure they know EXACTLY what they need to feed their pets and really spend time to make sure they are comfortable with it (not that the OP wasn't, just an opinion to some of the other comments). If you are okay with feeding an omni/carni diet to your pet then get one, if you aren't there are tons of herbivorous pets out there (even down to the fish you keep in your aquarium) so have at it!

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#25 Old 12-21-2010, 01:50 PM
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I rescue my pets and am under an obligation to provide them with the best possible care. For my cats that means feeding them an omni diet because that is what they require. If I had a beardie it would mean crickets because that is necessary for them. I've rescued my three cats long after I went vegetarian and I will continue to rescue more in the future. I find it satisfying to have the companionship of cats and feel that we, as humans, have an obligation towards domesticated animals that are already in existence. I do not feel that we should be breeding more and that is why I adopt, educate, and help out with speuter programs.

rapt - Personally, I find it important to optimize the life of my companion animals and try to give them the best chance of living a long, healthy and satisfying life. That means mimicking a natural diet but also adjusting in terms of preserving long term health. I have no idea what the lifespan of a wild beardie is but I would guess that it is lower than the lifespan of a companion beardie fed an ideal diet. Just as my guinea pig will likely live longer than his wild compatriots in part because of his carefully managed diet.

I do absolutely agree that wild animals should live in the wild. I strongly condemn those who catch animals for the pet trade. It's an entirely different story though from rescuing an already existing animal that has (likely) been captive bred and would not have the survival skills necessary to thrive in the wild.
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#26 Old 12-21-2010, 03:29 PM
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Wild beardies live around 3 years. Captive beardies typically live 8-12 years (assuming they are actually well cared for... A LOT of them are terribly neglected), and Ive even heard of some reaching 20. On another forum Im on, someone had one that lived to 17.
*Takes off city girl goggles* Hmmm. Even though my little guy was "built for hard conditions" as you say, he happens to NOT be wild. If you think a more natural life is so much better for my pet, should I throw a few hawks in his cage, mimic the temperature extremes, ect, of the wild? I think not. There is nothing wrong with providing him with a good life, and proper nutrition, just like any other pet.

I adopted Dudley from someone who was pregnant, and had to give up her 4 beardies. My first little guy, Wink, I rescued from being put to sleep (He passed away in May though :[). Neither of them came from the best of situations, so I want to make their lives the absolute best that I can, even if it means spoiling them with "unnatural" foods. I dont understand why everyone seems to be so against reptiles as pets. They make great little companions.

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#27 Old 12-21-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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The issue isn't so much what to feed the animal once you have acquired him, but why you have acquired him in the first place.

FTW.

Also, I think there is a very, very significant difference between a cat (assuming it's not from a breeder/pet store) and so-called "exotic" pets. Cats are abundant and in need. Getting a cat from a shelter is highly unlikely to create more demand for cats to be bred. I don't think you can say the same for most (not all, of course) lizards, snakes, chinchillas, degus, etc.

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#28 Old 12-21-2010, 04:44 PM
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To me a pet is still a pet. Dog, cat, lizard, turtle, bird etc. If people like a certain animal and they will love it and it will bring them joy then what is wrong with that. It's no like there no lizards left in the wild and I believe interactions between humans and animals through owning pets and places like wildlife parks is a crucial aspect of understanding them more. How are we supposed to get anyone to care about the atrocious animal cruelty happening in the world today if most people just turn a blind eye and don't care.
Many people feel especially outraged when they heard about things like China eating and abusing cats and dogs because many people now have one themselves, and they imagine their own loving family pet being eaten. I just feel that interaction between animals and humans is so important. The large majority of this lizard species is still in the wild Australian Outback, but some of them are being used as loving family pets worldwide. Because of this thousands of people across the world now how a new found respect and love for these creatures and I don't see anything wrong with that. And also, reptiles have been kept as pets for such a long time now that they can hardly be called "exotic" pets anymore. It's not like I have a Siberian Tiger in my basement.
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#29 Old 12-21-2010, 06:47 PM
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I rescue my pets and am under an obligation to provide them with the best possible care. For my cats that means feeding them an omni diet because that is what they require. If I had a beardie it would mean crickets because that is necessary for them. I've rescued my three cats long after I went vegetarian and I will continue to rescue more in the future. I find it satisfying to have the companionship of cats and feel that we, as humans, have an obligation towards domesticated animals that are already in existence. I do not feel that we should be breeding more and that is why I adopt, educate, and help out with speuter programs.

rapt - Personally, I find it important to optimize the life of my companion animals and try to give them the best chance of living a long, healthy and satisfying life. That means mimicking a natural diet but also adjusting in terms of preserving long term health. I have no idea what the lifespan of a wild beardie is but I would guess that it is lower than the lifespan of a companion beardie fed an ideal diet. Just as my guinea pig will likely live longer than his wild compatriots in part because of his carefully managed diet.

I do absolutely agree that wild animals should live in the wild. I strongly condemn those who catch animals for the pet trade. It's an entirely different story though from rescuing an already existing animal that has (likely) been captive bred and would not have the survival skills necessary to thrive in the wild.

This, all of it, every word. Times a million.
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#30 Old 12-22-2010, 02:25 PM
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FTW.

Also, I think there is a very, very significant difference between a cat (assuming it's not from a breeder/pet store) and so-called "exotic" pets. Cats are abundant and in need. Getting a cat from a shelter is highly unlikely to create more demand for cats to be bred. I don't think you can say the same for most (not all, of course) lizards, snakes, chinchillas, degus, etc.

I would generalize it a bit more. Rescuing a pet doesn't increase the demand for that pet and doesn't contribute to the pet overpopulation problem, it's independent of the species. I guess the possible exception (for all species) would be breeder dumps and culls but it's hard to track that precisely.
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