On visiting the Christmas Without Cruelty Fayre at Kensington Town Hall hosted by Animal Aid on Sunday, one of the causes that particularly horrified us was the Meerkat ‘must have’ pet craze.
Due to the recent popularity of the comparethemarket.com TV commercials, Meerkats are fast becoming the new pet to have in the UK.
(CAPS) The Captive Animals’ Protection Society campaigns against the trade in exotic animals as pets and is leading this campaign to stop meerkats being breed and sold as pets in the UK.
They are small mammals found only in South African deserts
A highly sociable animal, living in colonies of up to 30 in the wild
They reach maturity at around 1 year of age, and usually remain in their colony into adulthood
Average life span of 12-14 years
CAPS have investigated breeders and dealers in the UK and found very poor conditions, some in small enclosures in petshops and in cages in hallways at private houses. Babies are normally removed early to ensure the female will breed again quickly and at just 5 1/2 weeks old are being sold for £600 each. None of the dealers visited by CAPS were concerned about the purchasers lack of experience in keeping Meerkats and didn’t ask much about how they would be kept. The dealers visited were offering to sell these highly sociable, colony based animals individually.
Many people in zoos and exotic pet trades have spoken out against keeping Meerkats, with reasons such as:
- They are burrowing animals that will rip up your house, urinating to scent mark and destroying anything they can!
- Must not be kept alone. Solo Meerkats tend to go insane from anxiety and many self-harm, chewing their own paws off!
- They have large teeth and sharp nails and it is not uncommon for people to be bitten or scratched badly
- Meerkats can easily be killed through lack of knowledge – they can die if they are fed grapes or raisins
- Meerkat young kept as pets have a low survival rate and females often eat their own babies through stress
Meerkats and other exotic animals should not be kept as pets.
Go to www.savethemeerkat.com to sign the pledge…..