Parrots and lizards are captured in the wild, shipped as cargo on planes in bundles of cloth or pushed into cardboard tubes. Many die in transit, but the extravagant profits that can be made for the survivors as pets makes the process very lucrative.
Live turtles for the food and pet market reportedly arrive in the USA from Africa and Asia stacked like dinner plates in crates or in cardboard cartons. In one shipment from Tanzania, 511 pancake tortoises and 307 leopard tortoises had been packed on top of one another. Fifty animals were dead, 400 appeared near death, and almost all were grievously dehydrated. There was much blood, many broken carapaces, and dozens of missing legs. About 50 females carried broken eggs. In 1981, the US Congress asked the Fish and Wildlife Service to promulgate regulations for humane and healthful importation of reptiles, but they were not received until 1997. When the draft regulations were published, opposition from the pet industry forced abandonement of the proposed regulations. The airlines have regulations for both importation and exportation, but these are commonly ignored, because only about 7 percent of the shipments are ever inspected.
2. EEC/EU shippers expect to lose up to 20% of the swine they transport. In 1992, that would have meant the death by thirst or starvation of around 1.8 million animals.