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Home » Pet and Animal News » ANIMAL CRIMES / CASES » ILLEGAL POACHING Database > SURPLUS ANIMAL TRADE out of control
On any day, almost anywhere in the United States, an individual or animal dealer can purchase or obtain a captive-bred exotic animal, legally or illegally, as a family pet, as part of a roadside petting show, or to be shipped off to a hunting ranch. The numbers are staggering. The term "surplus" animals has been defined and applied to any animal which has "made its genetic contribution to a managed population and is not essential for future scientific studies or to maintain social-group stability or traditions." As recently as the 1960s, the problem of surplus animals was minimal. Then to capitalize on the Hollywood animal craze, animal dealers surfaced and began purchasing surplus animals from zoos to supply entertainment productions, trainers and theme parks. Soon, exotic wildlife captive breeding programs became random and excessive. Cute baby animals for display were a major factor, as incentives for increased revenues at zoos and wildlife parks, and perpetuated the problem. The animal dealer provided a way to dispose of aging individuals after they had outgrown their "draw for public interest." Today, this cycle of surplus animals is a multibillion-dollar industry. It is for the most part unregulated, and the animals' origin and ultimate destinations are virtually untraceable. It is deadly and out of control. LINDA FASO