Talkin' Pets News

September 2, 2017

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Dr. Suzanne Topor - Livingston Animal & Avian Hospital

Producer - Lexi Lapp

Network Producer - Quin McCarthy

Executive Producer - Bob Page

Special Guest - Dr. Brian Beale of Nat Geo Wild's Animal ER will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 9/02/17 at 5pm EST to discuss his 2nd year of following extreme veterinary cases on Nat Geo Wild

For International Primate Day on September 1st 2017, Animal Defenders International is calling for action to end the use of primates in research. Worldwide an estimated 200,000 primates are experimented on each year, with over 70,000 animals used in research across the US,one of the world’s largest users of primates.

Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer said: The continued use of primates in research is unethical and unnecessary. Harmful to both our closest relatives and to science, governments must end primate tests and facilitate the adoption of modern alternatives without delay.”

Some primates are forcibly removed from the wild and used as breeding machines to supply the industry, or used themselves in tests. In addition to the trauma causedto individuals during the capture process, subsequent confinement, and during procedures until their deaths, this brutal practice harms local populations threatening their survival. 

In Latin America, ADI has exposed the capture of owl monkeys for use in malaria experiments in Colombia. Taken from the trees, these nocturnal primates go from the forest to a barren cage. Our evidence led to a tribunal revoking the experimenter’s permits;although this groundbreaking decision has been overturned. Elsewhere, in Africa and Asia, ADI has revealed dire conditions inside the monkey breeders, who take primates from the wild to maintain their breeding stocks. At the monkey farms, individuals are confined to cages and routinely manhandled. In Florida, already home to a number of monkey breeders, ADI is opposing plans for a facility which seeks to import thousands of primates from outside the US.

Primates are frequently used in brain experiments because of their apparent similarity to humans. However, despite being our closest relatives, non-human primates differ from us in a number of ways, including the immune system. Their use in research therefore can never reliably predict potential human effects. Aspirin for example causes birth defects in monkeys, but is widely used by pregnant women without the same effect.

Such species differences are the fundamental flaw of using animals in research.Each species responds differently to substances, with an animal’s age, diet, sex, even bedding material, also affecting results. As a result animal tests can delay scientific progress and lead to human tragedy.

Just days after being given trial drug BIA 10-2474, the six male volunteers in the highest dose group were hospitalized. Four volunteers displayed neurological symptoms, with at least one losing all his fingers and toes; one of the six volunteers died a week after receiving the dose.  No comparable effect had been seen in monkeys or other animals given high doses of the drug over long periods. Some monkeys were estimated to have received around 75 times the dose given to the volunteers.

In another drug trial tragedy, TGN1412was given to volunteers who then suffered multiple organ failure as the drug triggered an uncontrollable immune response. One volunteer was hospitalized for three months, another had their fingers and toes amputated, and all are likely to suffer permanent damage to their immune systems and live with the danger of developing cancer and lupus.  The drug had been tested extensively in laboratory animals including in doses 500 times greater in monkeys with no drug-related adverse events.

Investment in animal research, predominantly with primates, has been wasteful and unsuccessful. A review has shown that not one of the 85+ candidate AIDS vaccines successfully tested in primates have been effective in human patients.

ADI has documented the suffering of primates for product safety tests at the notorious contract testing facility Huntingdon Life Science (now known as Envigo). Monkeys were strapped down to restrain them while substances were pumped directly into their stomachs, and they suffered a range of debilitating symptoms.

Researchers claim that the use of primates in brain research is ‘necessary’ but sophisticated neuroimaging techniques are available to study human behavior and brain function.Comparing data from human electrical brain activity with data obtained by experimenters using electrodes in restrained monkeys, Professor Furlong and his team at Aston University in the UKhave shown the same level of data can be obtained, directly relevant to human patients.

International Primate Daywas established by Animal Defenders International in 2005 to highlight the threats to and abuses of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom – apes and monkeys – from their use in research and entertainment, for meat and the pet trade.

Around 20,000 primates are imported into the US every year, from countries such as China, Vietnam and Mauritius. ADI USA revealed the hidden suffering of primates bred for research on the tropical Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Biodia, one of the biggest suppliers of laboratory monkeys in the world, sends thousands to miserable deaths in the USA and worldwide. At this facility we filmed baby monkeys torn from their screaming mothers to be tattooed, pregnant monkeys manhandled and pinned down in terrifying routine procedures and screaming monkeys being swung by their tails.

Over 2,000 primates were imported into the UK from Asia and Africa last year. ADI infiltrated Nafovanny in Vietnam filming the macaque monkeys in small, filthy, broken cages – images the huge dealer of monkeys to the USA and UK denied were on their premises – until we proved otherwise. They once roamed free only to be torn from the trees and forced to live for years in these dismal prisons. Monkeys filmed Huntingdon Life Sciences were supplied by Nafovanny.

Non-animal methods

  • There are many alternatives to the use of animals which are more reliable and are based on better science such as,human cell, tissue and organ culture, including 3D models containing different tissues providing a better representation of the actual situation in a living human;databases of known information, and sophisticated analytical techniques.
  • Advancednon-animal methods include the lung-on-a-chip, which mimics the movements of the breathing lung, providing provide low-cost alternatives for drug screening and toxicology tests
  • Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is an analytical tool of unprecedented sensitivity. It can be used to study samples from human volunteers given ultra-low, harmless, doses of new drugs (called micro-dosing). Obtaining early data from humans can avoid the unnecessary exposure of volunteers in clinical trials to potentially toxic drugs.  Safe, relevant to the correct species. Emerging technologies like AMS have many advantages, including speeding the development process and improving safety.
  • Other cutting edge methods available to develop and test drugs include computer simulations and modelling, high throughput screening for rapid analysis of compounds for drug discovery, epidemiological studies of human disease, transmission, genetics and environmental factors; fMRI and other imaging techniques.

Species differences

The fundamental flaw of using animals for safety testing, and other forms of research, is species differences. With each species responding differently to substances, primate and other animal tests can never reliably predict potential human effects.

  • Macaque monkeys are frequently used in toxicology testing, but they have specific genes which are vital for drug metabolism (when a drug works through the body). These genes are not found in humans and this is just one of the reasons for differences in drug metabolism between monkeys and humans.
  • The action of drugs also varies; for example Aspirin causes birth defects in monkeys, but is widely used by pregnant women without the same effect.
  • A review showed that none of the 85+ candidate AIDS vaccines successfully tested in primates have been effective in human patients Horses, rats and mice cannot vomit.
  • Morphine drugs are a depressant in rats, dogs, hamsters and other species, but produce tremors and convulsions at comparable doses in mice and cats.
  • The breast cancer drug tamoxifen was designed as an oral contraceptive. It is in rats, but in women it has the opposite effect. It is now used in the treatment of breast cancer, despite causing cancer in rats in some studies.

Animal Defenders International (ADI):Los Angeles – London – Bogota

Ending the suffering of animals in captivity and protecting wild animals and their environments

Active worldwide to end the suffering of animals: animals in entertainment – film, television, advertising, circuses and sport or leisure; animals used for food or fur; protection of wildlife and the environment; trade in animals; zoos, pets, entertainment and laboratories. Funding and promotion of advanced scientific methods to replace the use of animals in research. ADI investigates, produces evidence and reports on the scientific, legal and economic issues for each case study, recommending solutions. Education and awareness to public, media and officials. Where ADI’s evidence has been a catalyst for change, we collaborate with governments to conduct large-scale seizures of wild animals in captivity and relocate them to forever homes – back to their natural habitat wherever possible.

I was on the ground with the Animal Rescue Team and what we found was unimaginable: 84 Great Danes had been living in and around a 15,000-square-foot home in New Hampshire, walls smeared with feces and wooden floors thick with their waste.

Rescue video

Watch this rescue footage -- and then please help save more animals by making a gift to the Animal Rescue Team today.

What our Animal Rescue Team accomplished on that rainy, dreary day was extraordinary...

...I witnessed remarkable teamwork as four of our Animal Rescue Team members tag-teamed to remove seven huge dogs from cages in a room filled with ammonia fumes and no ventilation. After dealing with one dog, the handler would get some fresh air while another rescuer went in to get the next dog.

...I watched the leader of our Animal Rescue Team, Sára Varsa, think fast when faced with a huge dilemma. Some of the dogs were literally too large for the largest cages we had. Even though we had three huge trucks, Sára knew we needed more. She made a quick call and before you know it -- horse trucks were delivered to the scene. Over and over she was met with variables and, with her team, found a solution.

From 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., our Animal Rescue Team worked tirelessly to save all of the dogs from this horrible situation. And by midnight, every dog was in a warm pile of shavings, fed and asleep in a safe place.

It’s only with the support of generous animal lovers like you that this lifesaving work is possible. Please make an emergency donation to save more animals who are suffering from cruelty.

All of the dogs have now received full veterinary exams, but they will continue to need ongoing care to address a range of medical conditions and to receive enrichment and training.

It’s heartwarming to see that these sweet dogs are already getting much more comfortable being around people -- regaining trust, despite everything they have gone through.

you can help give more animals like them a second chance at life.

Thank you,
Holly Hazard
Holly Hazard
Senior Vice President, Programs & Innovations

Trending petition

There's a new petition taking off on, and we think you might be interested in signing it.

Petitioning United States Congress, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell

Ask Congress to Outlaw Dog and Cat Meat in the U.S.

Petition by Lady Freethinker

Did you know that dog and cat meat is completely legal in 44 states of the U.S.? That’s right — as shocked and outraged as so many of us are about the brutality to companion animals in other parts of the world, the truth is that the slaughter is happening right here in our homeland, too.

A mere 6 states have outlawed dog and cat meat; that leaves nearly 90% of the country with no law protecting these animals from being killed, butchered and eaten.

But now, there is an opportunity to finally end this atrocity. Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) has introduced H.R. 1406, the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2017, which will prohibit the transport, sale, and possession of dogs or cats to be slaughtered for human consumption. 

"This bill allows the United States to stand in unity with other countries that have made the dog and cat meat trade illegal, while also giving the United States greater standing to urge other countries to end this brutal and inhumane practice once and for all,” said Hastings.

This legislation was cosponsored by Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Dave Trott (R-MI), and Brenden F. Boyle (D-PA). And with the support of both parties, there is no excuse for Congress not to pass this lifesaving bill.

Please sign the petition urging Congress to enact the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2017 at once. It’s time for America to finally protect its companion animals from slaughter.


(May 18, 2017) – On the eve of Ringling Bros. permanently ending its traveling animal-based circus acts, The Humane Society of the United States released the results of a disturbing undercover investigation of a different traveling tiger act used by the Carden Circus and Shrine Circuses, showing tigers being regularly whipped and hit. In one instance, the investigator witnessed a trainer angrily whip at a tiger 31 times in less than two minutes after he became frustrated with the animal during a training session.

The HSUS investigation of ShowMe Tigers, a traveling tiger act hired to perform in circus shows, revealed numerous potential violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and raises alarm about the violent handling and inhumane confinement of the tigers as well as safety concerns for the animals and public. ShowMe Tigers is owned and operated by tiger trainer Ryan Easley (aka Ryan Holder), one of many tiger trainers who contract with regional circuses around the country.

The investigation took place from December 28, 2016 through January 18, 2017, during which time The HSUS investigator was with Easley at his headquarters in Hugo, Oklahoma followed by nine days on the road while Easley toured with the Carden Circus, often performing for Shrine Circuses, in Sulfur Springs, Giddings, Bryan and Cedar Park, Texas, and in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Last year, Easley performed all season at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Prior to that, Easley toured with the Kelly Miller Circus for years.

The HSUS has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture asserting likely violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and is urging the agency to investigate ShowMe Tigers and take swift enforcement action for violations of federal law.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS said: “While it’s true that Ringling is going out of business, other circuses are still operating and using inhumane methods of handling wild animals. There’s no excuse or rationale for whipping tigers or other wild animals for these silly performances. All circuses should end their wild animal acts.”


  • A tiger named Tora did not receive veterinary care for a raw open wound on the side of her face. The USDA had previously cited Easley for not providing veterinary care to Tora when she had a laceration on her ribcage.
  • The distressed tigers were whipped and terrorized to force them to perform physically difficult tricks, including one tiger who was forced to “moonwalk” on her hind legs.
  • The tigers cowered, flinched and moaned in distress and flattened their ears back in a fearful response to being whipped and hit with a stick, typical behavior of traumatized and abused tigers. The mere presence of these tools during performances evoked classic signs of fear and behavioral stress.
  • While traveling, except for the few minutes each day when the tigers performed, they were kept exclusively in transport cages, where they ate, slept, paced, urinated and defecated in the mere 13-square feet of space afforded to each tiger. Not once were they provided the chance to exercise outside the cages. In fact, the tigers’ exercise cage was never unloaded from the trailer.
  • In Hugo, Oklahoma, the tigers had no heat source and only an inch of bedding during temperatures often well below freezing.
  • Easley withheld food from the tigers on five of the 22 days of the investigation, fed them only raw chicken and rarely provided necessary dietary supplements.

In a statement provided to The HSUS, Jay Pratte, an animal-behavior expert, trainer, and wildlife consultant with 25 years of experience, said: “Ryan Easley utilizes archaic training methods which entail fear, force and punishment. In my professional opinion, the tigers at ShowMe Tigers are suffering from psychological neglect and trauma on a daily basis.”

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated most effective by our peers. For more than 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 100,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read about our more than 60 years of transformational change for animals and people.

I wanted to share a recent rescue from Marc Ching of the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation. 


After rescuing 120 dogs in Changchun- he and a colleague, Kai-Su, went undercover as fur buyers and were able to save 2 foxes from fur farm in north China in the Hebei province.

This fur farm is one of the largest as they slaughter 3000 foxes a day around October then sell the skins to manufacture fur coats.  Foxes are not the only victims- they use goats to feed the babies and minks are  also used for fur- for one coat- they need to kill 30-40 minks.

When Marc and Kai-Su were there, they skinned a fox alive. They use electric shock so the foxes will be weakened and not bite them while they are skinning them.   They skin the foxes alive because if the foxes are killed first, the blood circulation would stop and they believe the fur would be of lesser quality, which of course, is a myth.   They then eat the meat after the animal is skinned.

The owner shared that they export most coats to Russia, Korea and Japan but they also sell a lot to western countries as well.   Marc was able to convince the fur farmer to let them take two of the foxes.  He said their customers needed to see the quality of the fox’s fur.  The fur farm owner doesn't want to sell live foxes as they need them to keep breeding. Each mama fox only can be used for 7-8 years, then they will get skinned as well. In their whole life they stays in a tiny cage and waiting to die.

While they were only able to save the 2 foxes, they have got a partner in northern China to save 1500 foxes with around 200 in a dog rescue shelter.   The issue is the after-care as foxes are not easy to take care of and if set free, then they could be end up in a fur farm again. And they cannot fly them abroad as foxes are not allowed.

The current solution is building a park for them with ferns so they have space to run and enjoy nature and the environment.  The best way to save them is to bring awareness and educate people stop buying fur products. No buying, no killing then no fur products business. for more information.

Third bill this month involving animal traps

Washington, D.C., March 28, 2017 -- Today, Born Free USA announced its support for the introduction yesterday of the Limiting Inhumane Federal Trapping (LIFT) Act (H.R. 1727) in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). This bill would not only prohibit all officials and contractors of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using leghold traps, Conibear traps, and snares in the line of duty, but would also ban the use or possession of such traps on all land managed by the DOI or USDA. The bill includes limited exceptions, including for endangered species protection and invasive species control, but requires non-lethal management methods to be used and documented first.

The reintroduction of this bill comes within the same month as the reintroduction of the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act (H.R. 1438, introduced March 8) and the Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act (H.R. 1629, introduced March 20).

According to Jennifer Place, Program Associate for Born Free USA, “Steel-jaw leghold traps, snares, and Conibear traps are exceedingly cruel and dangerously indiscriminate. They have no place on land set aside to preserve our wildlife and vast expanses of wilderness. They also have no place in the wildlife management toolbox. These devices are archaic, brutal, and ineffective. While they kill tens of thousands of animals, they do not solve the underlying human/wildlife conflict, and instead frequently exacerbate that conflict. It is time to eliminate the use of these traps on federal lands and by federal employees.”

“In Oregon and across the country, pets and wild animals fall victim to the indiscriminate cruelty of inhumane body-gripping traps,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “I am reintroducing the LIFT Act to require federal agencies to prioritize use of humane methods, and to stop the use of cruel traps on public lands, including by USDA’s Wildlife Services.”

The LIFT Act would prevent USDA Wildlife Services from using any injurious or lethal trap in the line of duty. Wildlife Services routinely kills two million to five million animals annually in the name of “wildlife management.” In 2016, the agency reported killing approximately 2.7 million animals, more than 50,000 of whom first suffered in a crushing or suffocating trap.

This vital bill would also ban the use of these traps on the nearly 700 million acres of federal public land managed by the DOI and USDA. Overseeing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Park Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Department of the Interior manages more than 500 million acres, or approximately one-fifth of all U.S. land, and 75% of all federal public land. The other 25% of federal public land is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and equates to approximately 193 million acres.

“We thank Congressman Blumenauer for his leadership and urge the swift passage of H.R. 1727 to ensure that federal tax dollars are not being used to inhumanely trap wild animals, and that all of our public spaces are safe for people, their pets, and wildlife,” Place adds.

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at,, and


Washington, D.C., November 21, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in wildlife conservation and animal welfare, decries the deplorable conditions in which 15 exotic animals were found last week living inside a Pahrump, Nevada home. Law enforcement reportedly discovered three lions, one Bengal tiger, eight Canadian Siberian lynx hybrid cats, one panther, one serval caracal hybrid cat, and one fennec fox locked in rooms and cages amid their own waste.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “The circumstances these wild animals were kept in as ‘pets’ is heart wrenching, but this type of tragedy occurs with alarming frequency, sometimes resulting in human injury or death, not to mention the horrific cruelty to the animals. A lion belongs on the plains of Africa, not in a filthy cage. A panther belongs in a rainforest, not locked away in a bedroom. A fennec fox deserves to be in a den with his mate, not trapped near predators that he cannot escape from. It is utterly selfish and despicable to even think that keeping a wild animal caged inside a home is a good idea.”

The Born Free USA Exotic Animal Incidents Database provides a startling reminder of how frequently exotic pet incidents occur. Since 2000, there have been more than 1,500 escapes, injuries, deaths, and other health and legal issues involving wild animals kept in a home. At least 36 people have died from attacks, including children, neighbors, and first responders.

Kate Dylewsky, Program Associate at Born Free USA and captive exotic animal expert, explains, “It is a miracle that none of the animals in this Nevada home escaped and no one was mauled before law enforcement stepped in. Police officers are not trained to deal with 400-pound wild cats, nor should they have to be. However, the burden of protecting both the community and the welfare of exotic pets falls on the shoulders of brave officers who put their lives on the line. It is time to take the safety of our first responders and our communities more seriously, and outlaw exotic pet ownership.”

Nevada does not have a law prohibiting the ownership of many exotic animals, including big cats, wolves, and primates. There is also no federal law to restrict or oversee private ownership of these species, resulting in a largely unregulated breeding industry and pet trade. If not for the animal cruelty statute that enabled law enforcement officers to inspect the property, it would have been entirely legal for the owners of these 15 dangerous animals to continue keeping them imprisoned.

Roberts continued, “The exploitation of animals and the threats to human safety that result from exotic pet ownership are preventable. Wild animals are not pets. They have their own needs and rights: freedoms that the animals kept in this Nevada home have been cruelly denied. Now that they have been rescued, they should go to sanctuaries where they can live as natural a life as possible, and we should outlaw exotic pet ownership entirely so that we are not faced with this situation ever again.”

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at,, and


“Online ads have made the dangerous and cruel exotic pet trade easier than ever before. People are purchasing ‘pet’ monkeys, tigers, wolves, snakes, and more with one quick click.” – Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA

Washington, D.C., October 27, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, released a new report today exposing the rampant online trade of exotic animals as “pets" such as monkeys, lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, kangaroos, foxes, snakes, sloths, and more. Downloading Cruelty: An Investigation into the Online Sales of Exotic Pets in the U.S. analyzes the shocking numbers of these animals for sale online, and looks at how easy it is to purchase potentially dangerous species.

While the majority of the approximately 80 million pet-owning households in the U.S. have a dog or cat, an estimated 15,000 primates (chimpanzees, capuchins, lemurs, marmosets, and more), 10,000-20,000 big cats (tigers, lions, cheetahs, and others), 13.3 million small mammals (kinkajous, sugar gliders, and others), and 9.3 million reptiles (including snakes and turtles) are owned in homes across the nation as “pets.” 

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “It is shockingly easy to purchase exotic animals online, and the proliferation of online sales has facilitated the delivery of exotic animals to untrained people who are ill-prepared for the responsibility of caring for them. Our report uncovers the sheer volume of animals sold online. The patchwork of exotic animal laws allows breeders, sellers, and owners to perpetuate a trade with very minimal oversight. Despite claims made by exotic animal breeders, not one of these animals is ‘tame’ and their needs cannot be met in captivity. There have been hundreds of attacks on humans that demonstrate the severe danger they pose, and they can also transmit serious and potentially deadly diseases to humans, including salmonella and hepatitis.”

Despite these risks, neither federal nor most state laws adequately prevent the widespread sale of exotic animals by breeders and owners, nor do they set forth requirements for species-specific information that must be shared in the transaction. Sellers are not required to disclose crucial health or behavior information, and buyers are not required to demonstrate an understanding of how to care for the animal. The fundamental lack of oversight and enforcement, coupled with ease of availability due to the internet, has created a scenario in which millions of dangerous animals are being bred, shipped, and purchased around the U.S. The public is largely unaware of the dangers this trade poses, and millions of animals are suffering and dying in the process.

The report reviewed nearly 2,000 online classified ads during a three-month period (March-June 2016) across four different websites (,,, and Report highlights include:

  • The volume of advertised animals is shocking. At least 3,706 individual exotic animals were listed for sale over three months.
  • The exotic pet trade is taking place across the nation and crisscrosses state lines. The locations of the ads showed sellers in 49 states and Washington, D.C.
  • The breakdown of species for sale revealed a thriving trade in highly diverse species: 603 primates, 335 exotic cats, 439 canids, 263 snakes, and many others.
  • Exotic pet breeders churn out baby animals for profit. Juvenile animals (under one year of age) were the most popular, with 2,039 (55% of total animals) listed for sale.
  • Advice on animal care and welfare is almost entirely lacking. Most ads did not provide any history of the animal, give information on the animal’s health or behavior, or offer any instructions for care.
  • The welfare of most animals advertised was not a priority. Some individuals for sale were kept in isolation or were reported as being injured. Ads also offered animals as “swaps” or “quick sales.”
  • Safety was overlooked by the sellers. Despite all of these animals being unsuitable for a home, and most posing a potential danger to humans, only nine ads out of the nearly 2,000 ads warned that the animal could pose any sort of risk to the buyer.

For the complete report, go to

Born Free USA Program Associate Kate Dylewsky, lead author of the report, added, “Online ads have made this horrific pet trade easier than ever. The astonishing volume of animals advertised, along with the uninformative content provided, demonstrates how these sales are an unregulated free-for-all that negatively impacts the animals’ welfare and the safety of the public. The findings of the Downloading Cruelty report reaffirm Born Free USA’s commitment to ending the abusive, dangerous, and sometimes deadly ownership of exotic animals. This must stop.”

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at,, and


Shocking report shows brutal, dangerous, and sometimes illegal animal trapping practices common on private, public, and protected land

Washington, D.C., September 7, 2016 -- Five years after Born Free USA’s shocking undercover investigation Victims of Vanity, which exposed the vicious truth about the U.S. trapping industry, the wildlife conservation and animal welfare organization announced today the release of Victims of Vanity II. The latest Born Free USA undercover operation began in August 2015 at the Annual National Trappers Association (NTA) Convention, held in Hamburg, New York and continued throughout the 2015-2016 winter trapping season in Adirondack Park in upstate New York and in rural southwest Iowa. The report reveals trappers setting cruel, indiscriminate, and sometimes illegal traps not only on private and public land, but also in local and state parks: land ostensibly set aside for the protection of wildlife.


According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “Our investigator witnessed callous disregard for wildlife, public safety, and the law. This detailed report shows illegal steel-jaw leghold bear traps for sale; the use of Conibear, leghold, and drown-pole traps in the six-million-acre national historic landmark, Adirondack Park; and traps set next to homes, and a trap line for beaver in a park where trapping is prohibited. The footage we obtained is heartbreaking, and the fact that this archaic, barbaric practice is still going on is impossible to comprehend.”


“This investigation reaffirms our commitment to ending this vicious, bloody ‘tradition,’” Roberts added. “Born Free USA will continue efforts to ban all traps from federally protected lands. We are pushing for passage of the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act, which would ban snares, leghold traps, and Conibear body-grip traps within the 150-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System. We also urge Congress to support and pass the Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act, which bans the interstate commerce of leghold and body-grip traps—the two traps most often used in the U.S. today.”


Victims of Vanity II investigation findings include:    


National Trappers Association Annual Convention:

  • The selling of steel-jaw leghold bear traps, which are not legal for ‘sport’ trapping in the lower 48 states, and are generally not an accepted or widely-used method for wildlife control.
  • Skinning demonstrations with piles of dead animals strewn on the floor and over the tops of coolers, skinned in front of a live audience, and their carcasses tossed into garbage bags.
  • The trapper took Born Free USA’s investigator to a place he called “a great killing area.” After dismantling a beaver dam—which is illegal to do in New York—the trapper blocked the only entrance to the dam with a row of Conibear traps, condemning the beaver to death when he returned to repair the dam and secure his home.
  • Illegal trapping, including setting large, dangerous Conibear traps on land: something the trapper knew was illegal and asked the Born Free USA investigator not to film. (Born Free USA still obtained footage.)
  • The trapper used a torturous drown pole trap: a leghold trap attached to a pole with a drowning lock. The trap is set in water along a river bank. When the animal is trapped and struggles to swim away, the pole drags him or her to the bottom of the river and slowly drowns him or her—a process that can take up to 20 minutes of a slow and painful death.
  • Under Iowa state regulation, trapping is included in the definition of hunting. The trapper showed Born Free USA’s undercover investigator three beavers he had trapped in Rapp Park and Recreation Area—a 100-acre park north of Shenandoah, Iowa where hunting, and therefore trapping, is explicitly prohibited.
  • The trapper caught two coyotes using unpadded leghold traps. The anxious, exhausted coyotes were subjected to further vicious treatment from the trapper, who kicked the first coyote and laughed at the second coyote who, stumbling with fatigue, refused to give up struggling. In an effort to spare only the pelt, the trapper—who refused to be filmed at this point—shot both coyotes in the lungs, forcing them to die slowly and painfully as their lungs filled with blood, suffocating them.
  • The trapper told Born Free USA’s undercover investigator that trapped coyotes are regularly kept alive and sold for blood sport. After already enduring the pain, stress, and injury of being trapped, a coyote is put into an enclosure with dogs and condemned to a horrific, violent death—all to the cheers of excited onlookers who make bets on the outcome.

New York’s Adirondack Park:

Page County, Iowa:

To view the complete undercover investigation report, Victims of Vanity II, click here.


Roberts adds, “While graphic and extremely disturbing, the report, images, and videos we collected reveal the inherent cruelty of common, everyday trapping practices.” The public can help put an end to this cruel industry by stopping the demand for fur. Born Free USA asks that people never purchase real fur or shop at stores that sell fur. Instead, support the more than 400 retailers that have committed to a no-fur policy by joining the Fur Free Retailer program. Additionally, we urge everyone to write their members of Congress urging an end to cruel trapping in America.


Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at,, and


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