There have been a number of reports about people trying to smuggle exotic animals past airport security and customs officials by drugging them and packing them in suitcases. As reported in Agence France-Presse via Raw Story, a German man was willing and eager to take another step to hang onto his illegal cargo.
The 28-year-old German man, returning from Oman, was stopped by customs officials in Munich after they found 31 spiny-tailed lizards and 18 other reptiles, including geckos and wall lizards, in his luggage. The man (who remains unidentified) said that the animals were meant as foodstuffs — were for his “personal food supply” — and that this was the reason he had gone through the green channel.
To prove his point, the man then offered to bite off the head of one of the spiny-tailed lizards.
As Thomas Meister, a spokesman for the customs agency, said, the official decline such an offer. The 49 reptiles were impounded; the man will probably be fined 1,000 euros (about $1,300) or more.
The animals are reported to be under the care of a veterinarian. While some sources describe their condition as “fine,” others describe them as being in “the rudest of health” following their ordeal of being packed up in a suitcase for several hours.
Officials remain “skeptical” about the man’s claims, as the animals could be worth much on the black market.
Both for the inhumane transporting of the animals in his luggage and for saying that he was quite ready to kill one on the spot, it seems that this individual ought to be charged with more than a few counts of cruel and inhuman treatment of animals. Certainly the incident is a reminder of why we need to stop trafficking in exotic animals: Should penalties such as fines be stiffer?
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