EDF-Related Publications

  • How the exotic pet business has changed from ancient times – and it’s not good news!
    by Clifford Warwick
    Veterinary Practice. December 2015.

    Clifford Warwick, biologist and medical scientist, looks at the poor understanding among the general public of exotic pets and argues that the trading and keeping of them is harmful and wrong.

  • Pets: to keep or not to keep – perhaps EMODE has the answer
    by Mike Jessop, Clifford Warwick
    Veterinary Times. 44-39, Sept 2014.

    For those considering acquiring pets, measured forethought and relevant responsibilities are likely mainstays of advice from vet to client, although imparting the raft of essential pet-keeping considerations is routinely beyond the everyday consultation. At the heart of avoiding poor animal welfare, zoonotic disease, unwanted pets and other consequences is the prevention of bad decision-making by prospective keepers. However, personal passions, demanding children and persuasive promoters of pet-keeping can all influence what should be a a rational, very well considered and informed decision – and above all, commitment. It is for these reasons EMODE has been developed. EMODE is a user-friendly system that allows anyone to score animal species or types as easy, moderate, difficult or extreme in terms of how challenging they are to keep, according to managing their biological needs as well as human health and safety issues in the home.

  • Resource Review: Model Conditions For Pet Vending Licensing, 2013. Chartered Institute for Environmental Health, 32pp.
    by C Warwick, M Jessop, C Steedman, E Toland, PC Arena, G Glendell, K Smith
    AWSELVA Journal. 18(1):3-7, 2014.

    The ‘Model Conditions for Pet Vending Licensing’ published by the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health are intended to offer local authorities and pet shops updated guidance on pet shop husbandry and sales practices and have been long-awaited. However, this comprehensive independent scientific review concludes that the new pet shop guidance is ‘unfit for purpose’.

  • The Exotic Pet Industry
    by Clifford Warwick
    Environment Industry Magazine. Issue 32, 2014.

    Clifford Warwick has spent three decades investigating many aspects of the wildlife trade and describes the exotic pet trade in particular as ‘out of control’. In this article the author sets out the staggering scale of this trade, which involves disastrous premature mortality rates and also threatens biodiversity and ecology, and presents health risks to people and agricultural animals.

    Warwick states that a major reason why the exotic pet trade has been allowed to flourish is the complacency and incompetence of many civil servants, and their unwarranted partiality towards trade. Warwick comments that “too often the tail of vested interest pet traders is found wagging the guard dog of regulation and enforcement.”

    Examples are given to show how UK and EU civil servants have facilitated or ‘mollycoddled’ wildlife traders whilst essentially ignoring scientific evidence regarding the global harm inherent to trading and keeping wild animals as pets. Meanwhile, other far less harmful industries have to comply with strict, and stringently enforced, regulation.

  • Morbidity and Mortality of Invertebrates, Amphibians, Reptiles, and Mammals at a Major Exotic Companion Animal Wholesaler
    by Shawn Ashley, Susan Brown, Joel Ledford, Janet Martin, Ann-Elizabeth Nash, Amanda Terry, Tim Tristan, Clifford Warwick
    Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. 17(4):308-21, 2014. DOI:10.1080/10888705.2014.918511.

    A major international wholesaler, U.S. Global Exotics (USGE) was investigated by veterinarians, biologists and other exotic animal experts alongside the Texas State authorities. Around 3,500 dead and dying animals, or 12% of the ‘stock’, were discarded weekly at the facility, meaning that during each stock turnover period of 6 weeks, around 72% of animals were trashed. USGE also supplied animals for the European trade, including the UK. The USGE seizure serves as a useful case study to illustrate many of the wider problems caused by the exotic pet trade. Even though the facility housed a large accumulation of diverse species from across the globe, biosecurity – or even basic hygiene – was routinely disregarded. Threats to human and animal health posed by the exotic pet trade are significant. Reptiles and amphibians, which comprised the bulk of animals at USGE, are known to harbour a raft of germs that can affect humans, agricultural animals and wildlife. At USGE, investigators also noticed opportunities where animals could escape and either spread disease to local wildlife or potentially become established and invasive.

  • Assigning Degrees of Ease or Difficulty for Pet Animal Maintenance: The EMODE System Concept
    by Clifford Warwick, Catrina Steedman, Mike Jessop, Elaine Toland, Samantha Lindley
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. 27(1):87-101, 2014. DOI:10.1007/s10806-013-9455-x.

    Animals are often wrongly sold or acquired as being ‘easy to keep’, and this commonly leads to them receiving poor care – resulting in morbidity and premature mortality. Stressed and sick animals are more likely to shed pathogens to their keepers and to others. EDF, in collaboration with 18 scientists, vets and technicians has developed exciting new scientific evidence-based guidance to assess the suitability or unsuitability of animals as pets. ‘EMODE’ is a user-friendly system that allows anyone to score an animal species or type as Easy, Moderate, Difficult or Extreme in terms of how challenging they are to keep according to their biological needs and managing health and safety issues in the home. EMODE is aimed at avoiding problems of zoonotic disease, poor animal welfare, unwanted pets, and other related issues that result from poor decisions about pet keeping. See the user-friendly brochure below.

  • Managing patients for zoonotic disease in hospitals
    by Clifford Warwick, Susan Corning
    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Short Reports. 4(1), 2013. DOI:10.1177/2042533313490287.

    Exposure to zoonotic pathogens exists in various settings including encroachment on nature; foreign travel; pet keeping; bushmeat consumption; attendance at zoological parks, petting zoos, school ‘animal contact experiences’, wildlife markets, circuses, and domesticated and exotic animal farms. This article provides a new management decision-tree for staff, as well as patient guidance, on the prevention and control of zoonoses associated with hospitals.

  • Health implications associated with exposure to farmed and wild sea turtles
    by Clifford Warwick, Phillip C Arena, Catrina Steedman
    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Short Reports. 4(8), 2013. DOI:10.1177/2042533313475574.

    Exposure both to wild-caught and captive-housed sea turtles, including consumption of turtle products, raises several health concerns for the public, including: microbiological (bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi), macrobiological (macroparasites), and organic and inorganic toxic contaminants (biotoxins, organochlorines and heavy metals).

  • A review of captive exotic animal-linked zoonoses
    by Clifford Warwick, Phillip C Arena, Catrina Steedman, Mike Jessop
    Journal of Environmental Health Research. 12(1), 2013.

    Captive exotic animal-linked zoonoses are part of a major global emerging disease problem. 61% of human diseases have a potentially zoonotic origin and 75% of global emerging human diseases have a wild animal link.

  • Amphibian and reptile pet markets in the EU: An investigation and assessment
    by Phillip C Arena, Catrina Steedman, Clifford Warwick

    Wildlife markets are a concern to both the scientific (including biological, veterinary and medical fields) and animal welfare and species protection communities. The European Commission should prohibit within its boundaries exotic pet markets covering all biological classes of vertebrate animals.

  • Visitor behaviour and public health implications associated with exotic pet markets: an observational study
    by Clifford Warwick, Phillip C Arena, Catrina Steedman
    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Short Reports. 3(63), 2012. DOI:10.1258/shorts.2012.012012.

    The established nature of amphibians and reptiles as a reservoir of potentially pathogenic zoonotic agents implies that all animals, their containers, seller facilities and the sellers themselves must be regarded as sources of potential contamination.