We are working to achieve effective legislation to protect wild animals, and to improve enforcement of existing legislation to safeguard their welfare in all circumstances – whether in the wild or in captivity, traded or kept as exotic pets.
Over recent years there has been a growing trend towards keeping exotic animals instead of traditional pets, making the Azerbaijan a one of importer of tropical fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. There are thousands pets in Azerbaijan, including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians. However, many species, especially exotic animals, are unsuited to a life in captivity.
Keeping exotic animals as pets raises a number of concerns. Our primary concern is animal welfare; exotic pets have complex needs, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the average owner to provide specialised care, diet and housing to meet their needs. Cases of exotic pets suffering from inadequate nutrition, injuries from misuse of artificial heating or lights, behavioural problems and inappropriate medical care are commonplace.
The capture of wild animals for the pet trade, the destruction of their natural habitat and the introduction of invasive species are significant factors driving biodiversity loss worldwide. We have an ethical obligation to ensure exotic animals are not introduced to areas where they can establish and may be subjected to inhumane controls. An additional concern is that animals may be procured by methods that cause suffering, such as in the case of wild-caught animals or species that are intensively bred for the pet trade. Finally, exotic pets can be carriers of serious diseases transmissible to humans and other animals, and can pose safety risks (for example, predatory, aggressive or poisonous animals).
Our campaign, which is run over a longer time period, aims to reduce the number of exotic animals being kept as pets, while improving the welfare of those that remain, by targeting three areas:
- Positive lists to restrict the keeping and sale of exotic pets
- Increased welfare provisions and prevention measures in Azerbaijan regulations on Wildlife Protection, Veterinarian Service, future Animals Protection Law.
- Targeted education to raise awareness of pet owners on making suitable choices