The sale of wild animals as pets is growing more common, particularly as demand for ‘non-traditional’ pets such as reptiles, birds, and mammals increases. Unfortunately, the overharvesting of animals for the pet trade can potentially result in the extinction of species. Furthermore, the introduction of non-native species and disease through wildlife trade represents a serious threat to native wildlife and public health.
EcoHealth Alliance’s EcoHealthy Pets was designed to provide consumer information developed from scientific research on global wildlife trade into the U.S. The program’s goal is to protect natural resources, native U.S. wildlife, global diversity, and public health by offering consumers comprehensive information related to non-traditional pets. EcoHealthyPets.com promotes safer pet choices and provides science-based information on animal welfare, disease risk, ease of care and the possible threat to native animals.
EcoHealth Alliance is focused on protecting the health of families, the environment and animals. Wildlife that is captured around the globe for the pet industry is a public health hazard and can translate into devastating effects on an environment. Non-native invasive species pose a significant threat and cost to many habitats and species in the U.S. Some non-native species can cause significant economic or ecologic damage. Overall, it is estimated that 50,000 non-native species have been introduced to the U.S. including livestock, crops, and wildlife. Economic damages associated with invasive species’ effects and control costs are estimated at $120 billion per year.