How does a wild animal in the forest become a caged companion in a living room? To become a companion commodity, a wild animal is severed from its family, its social networks, and its ecology. At this very moment, millions of live, wild-caught animals are circulating worldwide in what is a booming, multi-billion dollar economy: the global exotic pet trade. More than half of these animals will die in transit or in the first few months at their new home. This video tracks the processes of capturing, transporting and buying and selling exotic pets. It shows the high cost of “pet love” in a bioeconomy that turns complex socio-ecological networks of animal life into discrete individual animal bodies that can circulate globally.
VIDEO PRODUCTION TEAM
Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre, animation director and storyboard
Jocelyne Clarke, producer and sound editing
Déjah Dixon-Green, narration
Janet Lumb & Aras Bukauskas, music
Brigitte Archambault, drawings and watercolours
Ehsan Gharib, animation & compositing
Bruno Bélanger (PRIM Center), recording & mix
Rosemary Collard, scriptwriter
Special thanks: Juliane Collard, Rebecca Collard, Jessica Dempsey, Meghan Gagliardi, Rob Laidlaw & Joanna Reid
- Who is responsible for the violence of the exotic pet trade? Why do you think this violence is so often overlooked?
- What lives, if any, should be able to be bought and sold? Who should decide this, and according to what criteria?
- Are animals’ interests represented in our political and economic arenas? If so, how? If not, why not?
- Are pets like cats and dogs also commodities? How are they similar to and different from exotic pets?
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