I need to begin by saying that I do not in any way support People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). I do not believe that PETA is ethical and I do not believe that PETA treats animals ethically. I believe that Ingrid Newkirk has a self admitted legacy of killing animals and that PETA’s practices result in the suffering of more animals. For my complete thoughts on this, please see my blog “Why I Cannot Support PETA and Ingrid Newkirk.”
That being said, I cannot support the neglect, abuse and torture of animals in any capacity. The video link below was taken by a PETA operative at the business of an animal dealer in California. I have heard rumors from people in the top eschelon of the reptile industry whose place this is, but I have not confirmed it so I will not say. The video speaks for itself.
I have spent significant time and effort advocating for the protection of the rights of herpetoculturists so that people who responsibly and humanely keep and breed reptiles and amphibians may continue to be able to do so. I hate to think that anything I have done protects the rights of people such as the business in this video, and if I have, that is a very bitter pill to swallow.
I do not believe that there should be blanket legislation prohibiting the keeping and breeding of reptiles and amphibians. However, I do believe that animal welfare statutes need to be strong, clear and enforceable. People who commit these atrocities should be subjected to the full force of the law, and the punishments for these egregious crimes need to be stronger.
I have written about the shared responsibility of reputable dog breeders to help ameliorate the suffering of dogs mistreated within the dog community. Herpetoculturists need to exercise the same responsibility. No animal deserves to be tortured and neglected. The privilege of engaging with these marvelous creatures inures a responsibility on the entire community to act against people who abuse and neglect.