Group claims calling lizards and tortoises exotic is 'problematic'

Group claims calling lizards and tortoises exotic is 'problematic'

January 8, 2022

Animal group claims calling lizards, tortoises and snakes exotic is ‘problematic’ because it implies they are not native to an area

  • Exotic pet owners should call them ‘non-traditional companion animals’, group says
  • British Small Animal Veterinary Association says term ‘exotic’ is ‘problematic’
  • The Plain English Campaign has described the change of language as ‘odd’ 

Owners of lizards, tortoises and snakes may think they have an exotic pet.

But the better term is ‘non-traditional companion animal’, according to vets.

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association says the word pet ‘fails to provide an adequate description of the range of relationships that exist between humans and animals’.

Owners of lizards, tortoises and snakes may think they have an exotic pet. But the better term is ‘non-traditional companion animal’, according to vets (stock image)

The organisation adds that calling an animal exotic is ‘problematic’ as it implies the animal is not native to an area.

The change of language, described as ‘odd’ and ‘patronising’ by the Plain English Campaign, comes after Ingrid Newkirk, president of animal rights group PETA, last year attacked the word pet for suggesting animals are merely a ‘commodity’ or ‘decoration’.

In its statement, the BSAVA said: ‘We prefer the term “non-traditional companion animal” as it considers that this better describes both the species and relationships involved.’

Lee Monks, of the Plain English Campaign, said: ‘Exotic pet seems to us perfectly fine. The idea that pet is in any way derogatory is just patronising.’

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association says the word pet ‘fails to provide an adequate description of the range of relationships that exist between humans and animals’ (stock image)

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