You moved authorities in the U.S. to protect tiny turtles

09/09/2021

Great news! You pushed American authorities to stop the illegal sale of vulnerable baby sea turtles by clamping down on reptile exhibitions.

Together, we continue to work to end the exotic pet trade as part of our call on governments to commit to a global ban on the wildlife trade.

Fuelled by kind supporters like you, World Animal Protection investigators recently uncovered horrendous conditions for sea turtles at exotic pet shows.

You helped our U.S. team move federal authorities to stop the apparent sale of illegal turtles by three of America’s largest reptile exhibitions.

After a meeting with us, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted our evidence from six occasions during which tiny turtles appear to have been illegally sold at reptile exhibitions. The agency indicated that it would demand the owners of Cold Blooded Expos, Repticon and HERPS, act to prevent the apparently illegal sales.

Uncovering a public health risk

It is illegal to sell turtles with shells less than 10 cm long. This is because children are more likely to put them in their mouths or touch them and then put their hands in their mouths without washing them. U.S. Children under five years old account for around half of the country's approximately 74,000 reptile and amphibian-associated salmonellosis cases every year. Yet this is precisely the age group that these three reptile expo companies let into their events for free.

Sulcata tortoises (like those we found for sale at Cold Blooded Expos) grow to 75 cm and can live for more than 70 years – tortoises are considered types of turtles under the law. Caring for them is a lifetime commitment that few people can successfully achieve, let alone comprehend when they are only a few centimetres long.

The FDA finally taking action to prevent the sale of tiny turtles at reptile exhibitions is a good first step. But the next step is to fight for greater protections for all exotic pets. There's much more to do for the estimated 7.5 million reptiles living in people’s homes in the U.S.

Together, we continue to work to end the exotic pet trade as part of our call on governments to commit to a global ban on the wildlife trade.

Thank you for being part of the fight to end the cruel exotic pet trade.

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