Monday, 19 May 2014

New film highlights depth of illegal wildlife trade in USA

In the latest episode of VICE Profiles, called Backyard Exotics the programme exposes the illegal wildlife trade in the United States. In distressing scenes theVICE team travels to Ohio to rescue a cougar, then to Texas for an exotic livestock auction and takes an undercover visit to a gaming ranch where the animals are sold and hunted for up to $15,000 a piece.

In the United States, regulation of private ownership of exotic animals is determined by each state, allowing for loopholes and oversight. Animals are bought and traded through auctions, backyard breeders, illicit online sales and more.

“Wildlife trafficking is actually an extremely lucrative industry (approximately $19 billion dollars worldwide) that only falls behind drug, arms, and human trafficking. What's even more shocking is how unregulated exotic animal ownership is in states in our own country [USA], allowing for the buying, selling, and keeping of these animals in a simple and easy capacity," says Juliette Eisner, a producer of VICE Profiles.

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