Animal Underworld: Inside America's Black Market for Rare and Exotic Species

Animal Underworld: Inside America's Black Market for Rare and Exotic Species

5.0 8
by Alan Green, Center for Public Integrity Staff

View All Available Formats & Editions

This shocking investigative expos documents the big business of exotic animal trafficking, implicating leading zoos, wildlife parks, and dealers nationwide. of photos.


This shocking investigative expos documents the big business of exotic animal trafficking, implicating leading zoos, wildlife parks, and dealers nationwide. of photos.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a shocking and heartbreaking expos , Green examines the fate of unwanted animals cast off by U.S. zoos and theme parks. Many of the nation's leading zoos, he reports, sell their unwanted animals--whether surplus, aging and decrepit, or babies bred for sale--to supposedly reputable dealers who, in turn, dump the animals onto roadside attractions, unaccredited petting zoos, private hunting parks and bogus sanctuaries that will hand over endangered species to anyone for a buck. Using easily doctored documents, the animals are laundered into obscurity, shunted from opportunistic breeders to wretched menageries, auctioneers, backyard hobbyists and even university research centers. Many of these animals, according to Green, suffer cruel abuse, mistreatment or fatal neglect; some end up as exotic meat on the grocery shelf. He also argues that zoos ignore their own edict by permitting animals to migrate almost uncontrollably into the hands of unaccredited institutions. Working with the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization, Green crisscrossed the country, combing thousands of health certificates and interviewing hundreds of people. He tracked smugglers and poachers who traffic in rare species disappearing from their native habitats, which are then sold to "exotic pet" owners. He takes aim particularly at the thousands of Americans who keep dangerous pets like tigers or cougars, inviting human tragedies. A major feat of investigative reporting, this book spells out sensible strategies to clean up this unholy mess, including a proposal that zoos should provide cradle-to-grave care to their denizens. Green's important, eye-opening report could spark a national debate. Photos. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Remember the last time you took a child to the zoo and cooed over the baby lion? Or the time you stopped at that roadside petting zoo and enjoyed feeding the deer and antelopes? Most of us have similar happy memories of summer afternoons spent observing animals in zoos and game parks. Unfortunately, there is a harsh reality that lies under the surface. Investigative reporter Green, with the support of the Center for Public Integrity, scratched that surface, and the result is this disturbing expos of the trade in exotic and endangered species. Animals are "laundered," given false health certificates and new identities and provenance. They are sold at auction, ending up in canned hunts, nonaccredited and disreputable zoos, or in meat markets. They are dismembered, and their organs are used as aphrodisiacs. They are beaten, tortured, left to die of starvation or dehydration. This shocking book is an eye-opener that belongs in every collection.--Peggie Partello, Keene State Coll. Lib., NH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Lori Valigra
Green does justice to documenting the sad relationship between people and the animals they keep for pleasure. Unlike the horse in "Black Beauty," Green's animals rarely find a happy ending. Perhaps this book will help change that.
The Christian Science Monitor
Kirkus Reviews
You wouldn't want to be a member of the captive-bred wildlife population in this country, even in a zoo. Chances are, as investigative journalist Green carefully charts out, you would wind up in a small enclosure, there to be shot for "sport." Exotic animals fascinate and delight us, and we are willing to pay to see our favorite charismatic fauna, the tigers and elephants and pandas. We enjoy the bizarre as well, the white-tailed gnus and the addax. We also like them young or very old, and zoos have found themselves with an overabundance of middle-aged animals: "There is, in short, no place for them, and they are of real worth only when disassembled." Skins make rugs, paws are nibbled as delicacies; whole animals find themselves in everything from exotic-animal hunting operations to ratty, vermin-infested roadside/nightclub venues. Feel the urge to shoot a Nubian ibex? Got a couple grand? Done. Green (along with the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity, which examines public service and ethical issues) is able to flourish his pull-no-punches style because he has done the legwork, following the arcane and nearly invisible paper trails that cast a harsh light on such venerable establishments as the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and the San Diego Zoo, who rid themselves of unwanted, unprofitable inmates by selling them to unscrupulous dealers. Green makes it clear that heaven-sent sanctuaries like the Primate Rescue Center exist, though for each one of them there are legions of horrific places run by ethically impaired yahoos. Green also makes it clear why: captive-bred wildlife falls between the legal cracks, with the US Dept. of Agriculture only handling egregious animalwelfare infringements and US Fish and Wildlife interested in international trafficking and the Endangered Species Act. No one is responsible for the captive breds, and few show any concern. What Green is talking about here is zoos' long-term commitment to the welfare of the animals they breed. But that commitment doesn't pay, it costs, and profits—not ethics—drive the zoo business. (8 pages b&w photos) (Author tour)

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.66(h) x 1.22(d)
1370L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

Alan Green is a veteran investigative reporter who was the founding editor of AlterNet, the news service for North America's alternative news weeklies. His reporting has won awards, including the Worth Bingham Prize for his work in New Republic magazine. The Center for Public Integrity, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that examines public service and ethics-related issues. Founded in 1989, the Center has completed more than thirty investigative reports, including the 1996 "Lincoln Bedroom" story profiling fundraisers and donors who had stayed overnight in the White House.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Animal Underworld: Inside America's Black Market for Rare and Exotic Species 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: dink age: 21 height: 6 feet wheight: 200 lbs appearence: brown hair, blue eyes, thin, white skin, muscular, very handsome. Gender: male. Crush: not telling. History: his mother died when he was 18, burned by a fire that destroyed his home. But the past is the past, although he still visits his mothers grave. Likes: shooting his bow, eating meat, drugs. Dislikes: enemies( he has quite a few) cakes. He likes other stuff like candy( eats it once a year) clothes: green pants, brown leather shirt( is usually seen with chain mail), and a red rag tied around his right arm. Weapons: bow, firebow, long sword, and a mace. Drugs: fall( no pain) and the necromorph( undead for a while. Gives you great power). Anything else just ask. Bye!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Sierra. Gender: &female. Age: 19. Appearance: Blond hair, bright green eyes, slender, and has a big smile. Personality: Sweet, slightly pessimistic, adamant, and loving. Normal Clothes: Some random tank top, a dark skirt, and combat boots. Likes: Chocolate, watching the clouds, Dink, drawing, singing, and talking. Dislikes: Bullies, main stream things, Dr. Pepper, too much alcohol, dark chocolate, ra<_>pe, drama queens, and pink. History: She lived with her parents until the age of 12, before they died of the same incurable sickness. She then lived alone for 7 years until she came here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bios go here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book opened my eyes! I truely believed that zoos and universities had the endangered species' best interests at heart in all of their actions, but Green shows that like the rest of America, it comes down to profit. I cried as I read the description of the trade magazines the author read. Any animal can be attained for a price, or even free. ZOOS GIVE AWAY UNWANTED ANIMALS! Endangered species go to for profit 'sanctuaries', some of which allow canned hunting. Green also discusses the exotic pet trade, esp. in Texas (not a shocker) and Florida, where law enforcement doesn't seem to care. Did you know people try to keep big cats (pumas, mt. lions, etc.) for pets? how about small monkeys? It is truely disgusting. I was very upset after reading this book and Allan Green's through investigation, which included: attaining legal records, attending animal auctions, talking with zoo keepers and hunters. I realized that now, more than ever, the public needs to know about what is happening to the exotic animals living in America. We need to rally for change, and support legitimate sanctuaries. Please read this book and try to support sanctuaries and help the animals!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that the tigers didn't have to die!