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The Ethics of Keeping Pouched Rats as Pets

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How Can We Help?

The Ethics of Keeping Pouched Rats as Pets

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Keeping any pet can provide people with a fantastic companionship and provide the animal with a safe and secure environment to live is life.

A number of people consider the ethics of keeping pouched rats which are closer to wild animals than many domestic counter parts and may consider it cruel or unethical.

Many species of animals are now kept as pets, many of these have been domesticated for many hundreds or thousands of years or more. Forcing any animal to live in an environment it is not suited for is cruel and not ethical.

Keeping animals as pets in general has raised ethical questions for years and many individuals and organisations may be against the keeping of any animal. As humans, we are curious creatures ourselves and keeping animals gives us companionship, a sense of self and worth.

For those of us who choose to keep animals the natural progression is the specialise in the species of animal we enjoy and have a special interest in. For some these are dogs or cats, the typical household pet, for others it may be a hamster, a mouse or a gerbil.

Many pouched rat owners began keeping fancy rats as pets. Pouched rats are a step up in this and we all contribute to the keeping, training and breeding to some degree in the domestication of pouched rats as pets.

Adopting an animal may always be the more ethically sound thing to do, in the case of pouch rats being exotic and rare animals this is not always possible.

While many pouched rat owners work towards the end goal of having lines of pouched rats, who have predictable temperaments and health there will always be those who disagree and believe they should not be kept as pet’s full stop.

It’s worth noting that pouched rats have been documented as being kept in captivity since at least the early 1900’s. Many of the lines we breed today have come from these early lines and would no longer but suited to live in the wild. Our modern lines are in transition of domestication, most (but not all) enjoy human company, they bond with their owner and live a very happy, healthy and stimulated life while providing their owners with much joy.

The ethical stand points that we feel are more important than the question of keeping semi-wild animals as pets with the aim to domestication would be these examples below.

  • Keeping a fully wild animal that is capable of living in the wild unless there is a specific reason why it cannot be released,
    • It would be in danger of becoming extinct in the wild,
    • to develop breeding programs with the end result of re-release,
    • they are hurt or otherwise cannot return to the wild,
    • they would be a danger to another species or humans on release.
  • Removing a wild animal from the wild with no real reason.
  • Animals which are kept in habitats that are unsuitable, such as cages too small for a bird, fish kept in tanks which are overcrowded or too small. Large breed dogs kept in unsuitable properties.
  • Not providing appropriate stimulation, food, shelter or care to any animal.
  • Not providing health care, vet treatment when required
  • Keeping animals for the sole purpose of breeding to profit
  • Breeding animals without care put into the genetics or risks of the litter
  • Keeping an animal that you know you may need rehome in the near future but choose to keep none the less.
  • Breeding animals for fighting or blood sport.

We could go, however our end result as keepers, owners, breeders of pouched rats is not to analyse the ethics of keeping animals as pets in general but to concern out selves more so with the ethics of breeding the animals safely, carefully choosing homes and providing only the best care these wonderful animal deserve.