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Miles from Home

We look into the burgeoning exotic pet industry

When people discuss their companion animals, what species come to mind? Most would answer dogs, cats, and fish, but that’s not the case for everyone. Year upon year, more wild animals are being added to the list of companion animals people choose to keep. Exotic creatures owned include reptiles from pythons to tortoises, birds from parrots to hawks, and even African leopard cats and chimpanzees.

The term ‘exotic pet’ covers any wild species that is owned for human companionship or enjoyment, and usually, these animals are kept outside of their native continent. It can be hard to understand why people would want to keep an undomesticated, usually free-roaming animal, like a cheetah or cockatoo, inside a cage that inhibits its natural instincts and desires. The media is responsible for a lot of the trends that create demand. Virginia McKenna OBE, founder trustee of The Born Free Foundation ( says: “All too often exotic animals are victims of a temporary ‘fashion’ craze, having been seen in a film, TV programme or advertisement, like terrapins, meerkats or owls to name a few.” The release of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film in 2016, saw a significant increase in popularity of terrapins kept. Once the craze passed, numerous terrapins were dumped in local ponds, which heavily impacted native wildlife. As well as fashion frenzies, there is the age-old association of certain exotics with wealth and status. If an animal is exciting, expensive, or rare, it appeals to people seeking to flaunt money or power.

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About Vegan Life

Happy New Year! It’s 2019, and it feels like we are officially living in the future. Instead of the flying, solar-powered cars and self-tying shoe laces we were promised we’d have by the movies, we’re instead fighting climate change, plastic pollution and for animal rights with more conviction and momentum than ever before. If you’ve picked up this magazine because you want to go vegan this year, you’ve made a brilliant choice — not just for you, but for the animals and planet as a whole. We’ve got everything you need to know, including what to buy on your weekly shop, how to have a successful Veganuary and the inspirational vegans you need to follow on social media. We also caught up with the lovely Clare Every, aka The Little London Vegan, who has some great plant-based restaurant recommendations to help you get your foodie fix. Whilst 2018 was a fantastic year for veganism, we still have a lot of work to do. Claire Bass from the Humane Society International unearths the truths of the shocking fur trade, and we investigate the burgeoning and dangerous exotic pet industry. Whilst these horrific trades still exist we must continue to spread the vegan message and give a voice to the voiceless. So let’s head into the new year united, campaigning for change and working towards a better and more peaceful earth. Who’s with me? See you next month,

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