Recently, Dr George Wilson, AWS, contributed to the RIRDC study and publication “Australian Native Mammals as Pets: A feasibility study into conservation, welfare and industry aspects” (RIRDC Publication 10/072) as an expert advisor.
The report assesses the feasibility of keeping native mammals as pets as means of conserving Australia’s mammal biodiversity. Australia’s biodiversity is in crisis, and innovative alternatives are urgently needed. Threats to survival of mammals in the wild in Australia have prompted the proposition that keeping native mammals as pets, rather than the current suite of primarily exotic predators, could contribute to conservation – for example, a child would keep a Spinifex Hopping Mouse instead of the exotic house mouse. While the keeping of certain native reptiles, birds and amphibians as pets is reasonably well-established across Australia, keeping native mammals is currently prohibited in most States. The RIRDC study sought to strategically inform the potential development of an industry based on use of native mammals as pets in a way that helps to ensure positive conservation and welfare outcomes.
AWS believes that if this difference is based on concern for animal welfare then that topic should be the focus of discussion and not confusion about animal rights.