EDF-Related Publications

  • One health implications of fur farming
    by Clifford Warwick , Anthony Pilny , Catrina Steedman, Rachel Grant
    Frontiers in Animal Science. 4,1249901, 2023.

    Fur farming involves the captive-breeding, rearing, and killing of between 85 – 100 million animals annually for their pelts. The purpose of this report is to summarise key areas of significance and concern regarding fur farming, and discuss these matters and their one-health considerations.

  • Elephant tourism: An analysis and recommendations for public health, safety, and animal welfare
    by Clifford Warwick, Anthony Pilny, Catrina Steedman, Rachel Grant
    International Journal of One Health. 9(2), 49-66, 2023.

    Infection and injury risks between humans and captive elephants cannot be safely controlled where close contact experiences are involved, arguably creating an unredeemable and indefensible public health and safety situation. Elephant welfare within some sectors of the close contact interactive tourism industry continues to involve significant mistreatment and abuse. To alleviate key One Health concerns outlined in this study, we recommend several types of regulation, monitoring, and control regarding interactions at the human-captive elephant interface.

  • Defining short-term accommodation for animals
    by Clifford Warwick, Catrina Steedman, Mike Jessop, Rachel Grant
    Animals. 13(4), 732, 2023.

    Definitions and usage of the terms short-term, temporary, and transitional are pivotal to animal husbandry and welfare. English Government guidance regarding acceptable short-term, temporary, or transitional accommodation for animals varies widely from <1 day to 3 months; whereas independent scientific criteria and guidance typically use periods of hours to several days. Stipulations regarding acceptable short-term accommodations, notably among English Government guidance, are highly inconsistent and lack scientific rationale. The definitions and use of the terms short-term, temporary, and transitional (for both formal and other guidance) should be limited to precautionary time frames within one circadian cycle, i.e., periods of <24 h. At >24 h, all animals at all facilities should be accommodated in conditions that are consistent with long-term housing, husbandry, and best practices.

  • Mobile zoos and other itinerant animal handling events: Current status and recommendations for future policies
    by Clifford Warwick, Anthony Pilny, Catrina Steedman, Tiffani Howell, Albert Martínez-Silvestre, Vanessa Cadenas, Rachel Grant
    Animals. 13(2), 217, 2023.

    Mobile zoos are events in which non-domesticated (exotic) and domesticated species are transported to different venues for the purposes of education, entertainment, or social and therapeutic assistance. We conducted literature searches and surveyed related government agencies regarding existing provisions within laws and policies, number of mobile zoos, and formal guidance issued concerning operation of such events in 74 countries or regions. We also examined guidance standards for mobile zoos, assessed promotional or educational materials for scientific accuracy, recorded the diversity of species in use, and evaluated those species for their suitability for keeping. Poor animal welfare, public health and safety, and education raise serious concerns. Using the precautionary principle, we advise that exotic species should not be used for mobile zoos.

  • Exotic pet trading and keeping: Proposing a model government consultation and advisory protocol
    by Clifford Warwick, Catrina Steedman
    Journal of Veterinary Behavior. 43, 66-76, 2021. Exotic pet trading and keeping raises many concerns regarding animal welfare, species conservation, ecological alteration, invasive species, public health and safety, and other issues. Despite these concerns, the UK Government assigns greater consultation importance to exotic pet trading and keeping stakeholders than to parties that seek to remedy relevant problems, or to independent experts. To help ameliorate the current situation, we propose a model government advisory protocol in which consultation weight is assigned first to independent scientific parties; secondly to animal welfare parties; and thirdly to exotic pet trading and keeping parties.
  • Regulating pets using an objective positive list approach
    by Clifford Warwick, Catrina Steedman
    Journal of Veterinary Behavior. 42, 53-62, 2021. Regulation of both domesticated and wild pets characteristically involves negative list systems, under which all trading and keeping problems continue to burgeon. Compelling rationales, as well as an important scientific evidence-base, strongly indicate replacement of historically common negative list approaches with objective positive list systems to better regulate the sale and keeping of both wild pet and domesticated pet animals. This report aims to produce a novel method for developing positive lists that meets several criteria that we considered to be fundamental to a robust decision-making protocol: operational objectivity; quantitative algorithm design; no or negligible consensus-based decision-making; binary results; independent repeatability; user-friendliness; resource efficiency; optional use alongside other methods.
  • Zoonoplasticity as an intuitive risk protocol for pet-linked zoonoses
    by Clifford Warwick
    Rev. Sci. Tech. Off. Int. Epiz.. 39(3), 2021. Current risk-impact assessment approaches for zoonoses are largely cumbersome and, to be meaningful, may require extensive detailed information. A literature search and review were conducted for current risk-assessment protocols for common zoonoses, with subsequent development of two novel rapid scoring methods for evaluating potential risk associated with pet-linked zoonoses. Accordingly, a novel, two-tier methodological concept – ‘zoonoplasticity’ – was prepared using an intuitive risk approach. The first tier considers risk principles for pets and husbandry practices, and pre-weights animals by class or species. The second tier considers established pathogen- or disease-based questions and assigns a degree of risk. Thus, the zoonoplasticity concept enables pathogens or their resultant zoonoses to be scored and provides a clear points-based protocol offering guidance concerning potential threat, in particular where more quantifiable risk assessment is unavailable because of information deficits.
  • Wildlife-pet markets in a one-health context
    by Clifford Warwick, Catrina Steedman
    International Journal of One Health. 7(1): 42-64, 2021. Wildlife markets are centers of trade involving live animals and their derivatives from wild-caught and captive-bred non-domesticated animals, including for the culinary, fashion, traditional medicine, curio, and pet sectors. These markets occur in Southeast Asia, India, North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and elsewhere. This study aims to address a diversity of related issues that have a one-health bearing while focusing on wildlife markets in relation to the pet trade. Several aspects of wildlife markets have attracted scientific and popular scrutiny, including animal welfare concerns, species conservation threats, legality, ecological alteration, introduction of invasive alien species, presence of undescribed species, and public and agricultural animal health issues.
  • Any single wild animal, at any single wildlife market, in any single country, could spawn the next pandemic
    by Clifford Warwick
    Veterinary Practice. 3rd September 2020. “Western-style” wildlife markets may seem less ramshackle than Asian counterparts, but look beyond the plush advertising website or the clear plastic frontage of a Perspex box. The cramped, deprived, stressful conditions of captivity, along with national and international transportation in planes, vans and car boots are still there for exotic animals to endure. From a public health perspective, any single wild animal, at any single wildlife market, in any single country, could spawn the next pandemic. Until we have eliminated all wildlife markets, in all their forms, and in our own Western backyards, then not only are we unable to claim the moral high-ground, but we may be the next centre of epidemiological attention.
  • Wildlife markets in the West
    by Clifford Warwick
    The Ecologist. 10th July 2020. Having rightly lectured China in a chorus of disapproval regarding its historical failure to control wildlife markets, Western nations can no longer turn a blind eye to the animal welfare abuses and pandemic risks loitering in our own backyards.
  • Dropping the ball? The welfare of ball pythons traded in the EU and North America
    by Neil D’Cruze, Suzi Paterson, Jennah Green, David Megson, Clifford Warwick, Emma Coulthard, John Norrey, Mark Auliya, Gemma Carder
    Animals. 2020, 10, 413; doi:10.3390/ani10030413. This study reviews the housing provided for ball pythons by breeders and sellers advertising their snakes at exotic pet expositions and on YouTube and found that most of the housing conditions observed did not meet minimum welfare recommendations. The paper also found that breeders and sellers did not provide adequate information for new pet owners detailing how to look after their snakes appropriately.
  • Creatures great and small
    by Clifford Warwick
    Environmental Health News. Nov 2018. A comprehensive new regime for local authorities covering their animal-related duties came into effect last month. Clifford Warwick explains the background.
  • Pet labelling is required and needs to be entirely independently and objectively formulated
    by Clifford Warwick
    Veterinary Practice. Sept 2018. An introductory article for the veterinary profession on universal husbandry and inspection as well as a proposal for a pet labelling scheme
  • Guidelines for inspection of companion and commercial animal establishments
    by Clifford Warwick, Mike Jessop, Phillip Arena, Anthony Pilny, Catrina Steedman
    Frontiers in Veterinary Science. July 2018. Front. Vet. Sci. 5:151. Historically, the management and inspection of animals in commerce and in private keeping have involved a considerable degree of arbitrary evaluation based on the personal experience of the vendor, keeper, advisor, or inspector. Accordingly, relevant protocols and standards are subject to considerable variation. Relatedly, diversity of traded and privately kept species generates significant challenges for those responsible for facility management and inspection alike. Animal welfare and public health and safety are constant and major concerns that require _objective_ methodologies to monitor and control. This report focuses on establishments concerned with the boarding, breeding, storage, vending or handover of animals intended for human companions or pets, and aims to provide universal objective information for essential husbandry, inspection protocols and an allied inspection assessment tool for scoring establishments.
  • Exotic pet suitability: Understanding some problems and using a labeling system to aid animal welfare, environment and consumers
    by Clifford Warwick, Catrina Steedman, Mike Jessop, Phillip Arena, Anthony Pilny, Emma Nicholas
    Journal of Veterinary Behavior. April 2018. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2018.03.015. The trade in and keeping of exotic pets has been frequently criticized for the commonly inhumane and harmful practices that are associated with supply and keeping, including animal welfare, species conservation, invasiveness, and public health and safety. Mis-selling exotic species as “easy to keep” or “beginner” animals is widely regarded to be a major common and problematic factor. The authors propose that a system is required that facilitates decision-making at the interface between sale and purchase sectors and that uses clear evidence-based labelling.
  • 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. 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 that 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
    by C Warwick, M Jessop, C Steedman, E Toland, PC Arena, G Glendell, K Smith
    AWSELVA Journal. Sept 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. 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. Moreover, 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.
  • 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).
  • Veterinarian accountability and the exotic pet trade
    by Clifford Warwick, Catrina Steedman, Emma Nicholas
    AWSELVA Journal. 2013 17(1) 3-6.

    The issue of veterinarians actively supporting or pursuing interests and practices raises ethical questions that do not appear to be frequently examined in the published literature. These questions are especially important where practices raise concerns about animal welfare, public health or species and environmental implications, and veterinarians may develop associations with sectors such as the pharmaceutical industry, horse racing, and farming where animal welfare and other considerations may challenge some veterinary ideals.

  • 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.