UPS: Transporting cruelty

As one of the largest shipping companies in the world, UPS should be a leader in wildlife protection.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of wild animals will be captured from the wild or bred in captivity and become part of the “exotic” pet industry. Thousands more will die before they even reach the point of being sold.

UPS is a link in this chain of cruelty.

Why UPS?

As one of the largest shipping companies in the world, UPS should be a leader in wildlife protection. Instead, UPS is a key link in the supply chain transporting wild animals across the United States to a life of suffering in captivity.

Despite publicly listing birds and snakes as prohibited animals, UPS is the preferred shipper by many breeders and retailers of these animals in the United States. UPS also accepts shipment of amphibians, turtles, fish, and some reptiles.

It’s time for the suffering to end. Demand that UPS stop contributing to this cruelty.

Sign on to our letter

Demand UPS stop transporting wild animals

We, the undersigned, demand that UPS stop transporting all wild animals.

It is inherently cruel to ship a bird, snake, or other animal in a box. There is no way to reduce this cruelty through faster shipping or a larger box.  The animal will suffer at the hands of UPS.

UPS: stop shipping wild animals.



  1. Sign on to our letter to UPS demanding that they stop transporting wild animals.
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  4. Contact UPS through their Facebook, Twitter and other online channels and demand it stops shipping live animals.
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Wildlife. Not Pets

Whether born in the wild or bred in captivity, these animals remain wild. They are not domesticated animals.

Wild animals belong in the wild, not in our homes.

Wild animals can never have their needs fully met in a home. Yet the popularity of buying these “exotic” animals is increasing, subjecting more and more of them to confinement in aquariums, terrariums, aviaries, and enclosures.

Federal and state laws provide only minimal protection for these animals. Enforcement is limited and conflicting state laws make it even harder to protect wild animals from becoming part of the “exotic” pet industry.

Reptiles and birds suffer greatly as part of the “exotic” pet industry. Without the proper nutrition, enrichment and access to a natural environment, they can develop severe psychological and physiological problems.

Wild animals belong in the wild, not in our homes.

Learn more...

  • It is impossible to know whether a reptile was bred in captivity or removed from the wild
  • Globally, it is estimated that 5 to 100% of wild-caught reptiles will die within the first year after being captured [1] [2]
  • It is estimated that 5 to 25% of captive-bred reptiles will die within their first year [3] [4]
  • In one major exotic animal wholesaler in the United States, researchers found an estimated 72% mortality rate during an average six-week stock turnover, a mortality rate that is considered by some industry representatives to be an industry standard [5]
  • Research in the United Kingdom reflects an overall estimated 75% mortality rate for all reptiles within their first year in a home [6]
  • The stress of captivity can lead to diseases, death, and self-injurious behavior [7]
  • Reptiles are a vector of zoonotic diseases such as Salmonella bacteria. Despite the decline following the 1975 United States Food and Drug Administration ban prohibiting the intrastate and interstate sale of turtles with a shell length less than four inches, the number of multistate Salmonella bacteria outbreaks linked to reptiles has increased over the past two decades. From 2006 to 2014, the Center for Disease Control investigated 15 multistate Salmonella bacteria outbreaks linked to reptiles in which 921 people were sickened, 156 were hospitalized, and one infant died.[8]  From May 20, 2011 to September 23, 2013, the Salmonella bacteria outbreaks linked to reptiles resulted in 473 reported [9] illnesses with an estimated healthcare cost of $2,800,000 [10]
  • In in the Unites States, bird breeding is largely unregulated and there are limited animal welfare protections for birds kept as pets [11]
  • Birds have complex nutritional requirements that cannot be replicated in captivity and can result in obesity and chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as poor feather quality [12]
  • Common household items like Teflon-coated pots and pans are toxic to birds [13]
  • Overpreening or excessive plucking of feathers is only a common behavior in captive birds. It is often a result of boredom. This self-destructive and self-mutilating behavior, combined with poor feather quality, leads to an inability to fly [14]
  • The inability to fly causes psychological stress as it both combines a loss of freedom and a loss of the ability to escape predators [15]
  • Captive birds are vectors of zoonotic diseases such as Salmonella bacteria and Avian flu [16]


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