Ownership or Possession of Wild Animals or Their Hybrids

Comment on this policy

The AVMA has concerns about animal welfare, husbandry, infectious diseases, public health and safety, and environmental impacts relative to ownership of wild animal species and their hybrids.

The AVMA believes that all who own or are considering the ownership of wild animal species or their hybrids should:

  • Educate themselves about the animal husbandry, welfare, and safety requirements of the animals involved and about the risks that  the animals may pose to humans, other animals, and ecosystems; and 
  • Implement means to reduce those risks.  

 If owners or caretakers cannot ensure these aspects, the AVMA recommends prohibiting ownership or possession of wild animal species or their hybrids.

Furthermore the AVMA:

  • Supports reasonable regulations (e.g. licensing, registration, inspections) pertaining to ownership, possession, and disposition of wild animal species and their hybrids; and
  • Expects international, federal, state, and local authorities and policymakers to provide adequate funding and other resources to ensure effective enforcement of regulations pertaining to ownership, possession, and disposition of wild animal species and their hybrids.

Definitions: 

  • Hybrid:  F1 or subsequent generations of offspring generated from different subspecies, species, genera, etc.  This includes animals such as ligers (lion and tiger hybrid), wolf hybrids, and inter-subspecific crossed or generic tigers.
  • Risk: Threats posed by these animals, which may serve as a reservoir and/or vector for transmission of infectious agents or which may otherwise cause direct or indirect harm to humans, other animals, the environment, or wild populations of the same or related species.
  • Wild animal:  Animal species that, whether or not raised in captivity, are normally found in a wild state.  These species may be native or nonnative to the United States, may not yet have been subjected to domestication, or may be in the process of being domesticated. 

Brochures:

Relevant AVMA Policy:

Formerly titled "Private Ownership of Wild Animals"