Farmed Herptiles for Food-Insecure Populations, And More

Martin Nowak

Mar 23, 2018
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Trussville, AL
Well written and balanced narrative about wild meat consumption, food insecure populations, endangered species, and so forth. While the article discusses wild meat consumption among many species – herptiles are also discussed. Key words of interest for this Forum include snakes, amphibians, salamanders, crocodilians, Chinese alligator, wild meat farming, reduction of disease, frogs, herptiles as agriculture products, sustainable hunting, monitoring of farmed animals, reduction of hunting for endangered species, and more.

Knowable Magazine May 9, 2024

“Calls to ban the commercial trade in wildlife are superficially attractive, but there is much underlying complexity, so a blanket ban is not likely to have the desired effect.”

“After the first SARS outbreak, the Chinese government had invested quite heavily in the farming of frogs, snakes, and salamanders. This was done in order to have a regulated trade in captive-reared wildlife that could be produced in controlled conditions, thereby reducing the risks of disease from wild-caught animals and from more risky groups like mammals. There were many people whose livelihoods depended on those farms, and they were also selling these animals in the wildlife markets. That entire industry, which was supposed to be sustainable, was destroyed during the pandemic. That seems unfortunate to me, especially since there is no definitive evidence that the pandemic started at a market.”

“But if people could have the tenure rights and ability to manage their hunting sustainably, what’s wrong with them selling meat, even with them developing a market for premium, certified wild meat which might be sold to expensive restaurants?”

A key conclusion by scientist E.J. Milner-Gulland of the University of Oxford in the UK:
“You know, we trade in domestic livestock all the time. You could just bring wildlife under the same rules, and have veterinary surveillance, animal welfare regulations, subsidies to stimulate certain practices. Governments usually don’t think about it that way, because the trade in wild meat is mostly informal. It doesn’t contribute to GDP, so it’s seen as something not worth investing in.” “I think we have to move away from large-scale farming of domestic livestock like cows, which require land and resources for grazing and feed, and contribute to climate change. But a lot can be done with different protein sources.” “We should be able to do better. It’s about allowing people to take their own paths towards a sustainable economy, whether that includes sustainable wildlife harvesting, farming, honey, crafts, or remote work in IT.”

As readers of this Forum recognize, I am an advocate that our captive produced herptiles should be classed as “domestic livestock” and bring them under an umbrella of societal uses beyond the hobby’s intellectual, entertaining, and intrinsic values. I have long endorsed captive bred herptiles as food sources. (FC May 24, 2024). Herptile farming requires less space than mammal, chicken, and fish farming. Snakes convert protein intake to muscle meat more efficiently than mammals, birds, and fish. Snakes do not expel methane like mammals.[LIST_EMAIL_ID]