Wild Animals No Longer Allowed as Pets in the UAE

March 14, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. exotic / ɪgˈzɒt ɪk / (adj.) – unusual or strange
Example: Many people are afraid to try exotic food.

2. status symbol / ˈsteɪ təs, ˈstæt əs ˈsɪm bəl / (n.) – something that a person owns that shows his or her wealth
Example: Expensive sports cars are considered a status symbol.

3. confiscate / ˈkɒn fəˌskeɪt / (v.) – to take something away, especially if it is illegal
Example: The authorities confiscated the smuggled goods in the store.

4. maltreatment / mælˈtrit mənt / (n.) – cruel behavior towards a person or animal
Example: The man was sent to jail for animal maltreatment.

5. extinction / ɪkˈstɪŋk ʃən / (n.) – a state where a kind of animal or plant no longer exists
Example: The rhinoceros are in danger of extinction.


Read the text below.
Keeping exotic wild animals as pets is now banned in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

For many years, the private ownership of wild animals such as lions, cheetahs, and tigers was considered a status symbol in the UAE. Because of this, the country has been one of the biggest hubs for the illegal import and export of exotic animals. The illegal pet trade is reported to be an industry worth billions of dollars.

However, because of allegations of animal abuse and neglect from animal rights activists, the UAE government passed a law that will prohibit its citizens from owning exotic animals.

Under the new law, locals are required to surrender their exotic pets. The authorities will confiscate animals from owners who will not surrender their pets. Those who are caught keeping an exotic pet will be fined $136,000 and sentenced to six months in jail.

Activists and critics consider the new law a great success in the fight against animal trading. However, the law does not cover wild animals under the care of zoos, circuses, breeding and research centers, and wildlife parks, which are also being criticized for animal maltreatment.

Animal trading is driving a lot of species to extinction because many animals die while being shipped from one country to another. In addition, exotic animals that are taken away from their natural habitat do not usually do well in a domesticated environment. Unlike dogs and cats, exotic animals need more space and food as they grow. Unfortunately, many exotic pet owners and zoos cannot satisfy the animals’ needs, which can result in the death of the animals.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What should be done to the exotic animals that the UAE government will confiscate?
·         Aside from those mentioned in the article, what other animals should be banned from being pets?

Discussion B

·         What are the characteristics of an animal that will make a good pet? Discuss.
·         Why do you think some people like owning exotic animals?

March 14, 2017