EXOTIC animals do not make good pets and are not suited to life in captivity. The exotic pet industry markets them as low maintenance and easy to keep; however, this deceptive and damaging message is rejected more and more by informed circles, such as the veterinary and biological professions. In addition, rescue centres have to cater for increasing numbers of these animals as people find out they are more trouble and cost far more than they had been led to believe.

Purchasing an exotic animal can also mean supporting a trade that involves a high level of cruelty and environmental destruction. While some animals are bred in this country, many animals in the trade are captured from the wild to cater for the rise in the sale of these animals. The capture and transportation process is so brutal that the majority of animals die before they reach the pet shop, and the trade in wild animals for pets is driving many species towards extinction.

As well as this, people who buy exotic pets are often not aware of the significant disease risk that they invite into their homes. Vulnerable groups such as children under five, the elderly, pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems are susceptible to contracting one of the many diseases carried by exotic animals.

The simplest answer therefore is not to buy exotic pets and also to educate others against exotic animal keeping.

(Mrs) M Harrison Toothill Swindon