Animal Underworld: Inside America's Black Market for Rare and Exotic Species
This shocking and groundbreaking report on the trafficking and inhumane treatment of rare and exotic animals exposes a whole network of people and institutions more interested in profit than in animal welfarefrom zoos and wildlife parks to exotic meat dealers and Amish farmers..
hundred sixty-four animals had died over a ten-month period, including more than one hundred from infection or inflammation and a dozen from hypothermia. At Six Flags Wild Safari, in Jackson, New Jersey, the death count in a single three-month period at the drive-through park was twenty-six: giraffe (skull fracture), baboon (head trauma), scimitar oryx (fractured neck), eland (fractured neck), blackbuck antelope (fractured neck), rhea (gore wound), peacock (predator), black swan (hypothermia),
Rock and Nashville, I learned that Tennessee attorneys had suddenly declared the health certificates exempt from the state’s Freedom of Information Act and was advised that the following day’s appointment should therefore be scratched from my calendar. In Montgomery, an animal-care veterinarian withdrew permission to search the file cabinets and instead handed over all of the Alabama records I presumably wanted—as if he could read my mind. The visit to Bismarck, North Dakota, was set in stone for
there are five-dollar zebra-skin hatbands for sale. On the lawn outside the barn, a man parades back and forth with a five-year-old leashed iguana. He’s got another for sale, which he says will grow to six feet, just like his buddy’s pet. A young boy pleads with his father, but to no avail. Instead, the bed of a pickup is loaded with exotic birds bought earlier that morning and the family heads for the exit. Getting through the doors at the North Carolina Reptile and Exotic Animal Show
at risk of being infected with the bacterium that causes the deadly avian chlamydiosis; in humans, so-called psittacosis, or parrot fever, produces dry, hacking coughs and, in severe cases, bloody sputum, but the disease can also result in hepatitis, encephalitis, and respiratory failure. Many reptiles—along with hedgehogs, sugar gliders, and other exotic pets—carry some strain of Salmonella, a bacterium that, when passed to humans, can cause cramps, diarrhea, fever, and, in rare instances, even
landed in the late 1970s, the lab that sequestered battalions of chimps for human AIDS- and hepatitis-vaccine research. It was here, for example, that Pet-a-Pet’s young chimpanzee, Mario, was sent after Jack Crippen closed his Virginia petting zoo, thereby subjecting the animal to two decades of infectious-disease research. In early 1995, New York University began planning to sell LEMSIP, setting off a scramble for its five hundred baboons, macaques, and other primates. From all indications,