REXANO, Editorial by Zuzana Kukol

As Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America said “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes”.

Even though we all have to die of ‘something’, people tend to fear death by causes they don’t understand much more.

Statistically flying is safer than ground transportation, but many people fear flying more than being in a car.
The same goes for captive exotic or wild animals. People have an innate fear of being ‘eaten alive’ by a predator, even though a person has a better chance of winning the lottery Jackpot (1 in 13,983,816, all six winning numbers selected) or even the elusive Mega Millions Lottery jackpot (1 in 175,711,536), than being killed by a US captive large cat (1 in 276,636,363). 


In 2005, the last year a US governmental statistics are available, 573 people died of accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed. However, based on the 18 year average (1990-2008) only 1.1 persons are killed each year by a captive big cat, 0.88 by captive venomous snake, 0.72 by captive elephant, 0.44 by captive non venomous, 0.16 by captive bear and 0 by captive crocodile, alligator or non-human primate.
Yet, people and politicians are more likely to support a ban on exotic animals based on pure fear and ignorance of facts.

The vast majority of those killed by exotic animals are the trainers, handlers and owners. The real chances of a member of the general public getting killed by an exotic animal is lower than the averages in the table below; the same way a non alcoholic is not likely to be killed by excessive alcohol consumption.

Yet, the bans on private exotic animal ownership continue while the safety of the public is not being increased, the tax payers’ money is wasted and personal freedoms are diminished.

For PDF version of the table below click HERE.

TOTAL NUMBERS AND ODDS OF AN ACCIDENTAL DEATH IN THE USA BY CAUSE OF INJURY in 2005: comparing human fatalities caused by captive exotic and wild animals (average from 1990 – 2008, ) to deaths caused in every day life in 2005. REXANO,, only used fatalities numbers since all deaths are reported and there is only one degree of death. Injuries in all walks of life range from life threatening to simple Band-Aid fix, and many go unreported. The average life expectancy of 77 years was used to calculate the lifetime odds. The odds are statistical averages for the whole U.S. population.


















Sources: U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION, National Safety Council, National Center for Health Statistics, FBI, U.S. Census, animal attack news reports

*In 1997 in Atlanta, Georgia, a Yerkes primate researcher supposedly died of herpes B after she was splashed in the eye with bodily fluids from a rhesus macaque; this can NOT be classified as animal ‘attack’, just like a nurse or doctor being accidentally infected with a blood from an AIDS patients can not be called a murder.

** Based on 18 year average 1990-2008 numbers, since the fatalities numbers per year are low (statistically insignificant)

(*** ) Includes hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, dust storms, and other cataclysmic storms

Copyright © REXANO 2009



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