In a Dec. 6, 2013, press release, the United Kingdom's Animal Protection Agency announced a new assessment tool, called EMODE, which classifies potential pets as Easy, Moderate, Difficult or Extreme (based on the care required). The APA encourages widespread adoption of the new system "to prevent and control the diversity of serious problems associated with especially exotic pet trade and keeping."
According to the press release, EMODE has been published in the independent and peer-reviewed Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. This user-friendly tool was designed for use both by national and local government personnel and by anyone thinking of acquiring any type of pet.
A brochure on EMODE titled "Pets - easy or difficult to keep?" identifies the following as key areas to address in determining the suitability of an animal as a pet:
- Biological needs
- Public health
- Safety issues
- General responsibilities of keeping animals in the home
The EMODE system is a 3-step approach beginning with identifying the class of animal, then answering questions in a point-based questionnaire, and finally tallying the score to classify the animal as Easy, Moderate, Difficult or Extreme. Higher point values indicate a higher maintenance animal.
Having grown up with a menagerie of pets, both domestic and exotic, I can attest to how surprisingly challenging some pets can be. This sort of tool would have been quite helpful when I domesticated that pair of wild silver foxes, or when my dad decided to raise South American leopard cats. The hope is that knowing ahead of time how much an animal would require may deter pet lovers from keeping wild animals as pets.