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Animal Underworld: Inside America's Black Market for Rare & Exotic Species

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  61 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
A vast and previously undisclosed underground economy exists in the United States. The products bought and sold: animals. In Animal Underworld, veteran investigative journalist Alan Green exposes the sleazy, sometimes illegal web of those who trade in rare and exotic creatures. Green and The Center for Public Integrity reveal which American zoos and amusement parks dump th ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by PublicAffairs
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Mar 31, 2012 Nicola rated it liked it
Ever wondered what happens to elderly zoo animals? Well, to hear the zoos tell it, they’re sent to sanctuaries to peacefully live out their days. It’s a bit like that dog you had as a kid, the one that went to live on a farm.

Except, you now know that that dog actually died. And elderly or unwanted zoo animals suffer an even worse fate. They might get sent to a so-called sanctuary, but then they’re passed on to dealers, who sell them to private collectors who don’t know how to care for them, or t
Feb 04, 2016 HourglassOrca rated it it was ok
This is more of an in-between rating. I couldn't decide if I wanted to be generous and give it a three for a while, but I think ultimately my problem with it outweighs anything else.

The information collected in this book is vastly impressive, and you can tell just how much effort was put into documenting each and every aspect of phony animal 'sanctuaries', zoo practices, and more.

My one and major problem with "Animal Underworld" is that the information isn't told in a way that's engaging to the
Apr 04, 2014 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: conservation
This was a pretty good book but it could have been better. It made great points and had some interesting revelations but it was so repetitive. It makes the same point over and over. Animals from zoos end up in the hands of brokers then either disappear or end up in canned hunts. I would love to have seen more concrete proof but it may not exist. This book was written in 1999 so I would love a follow up to see if anything has changed over 10 years later. It offers some good solutions though I don ...more
Apr 09, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it
I am in awe of the vast amount of effort, energy, and determination the author applied in putting together this book. This is an incredible compilation and analysis of exotic animal transactions (both legal and, well, less so) primarily during the 80s and 90s. That is also the downside -- there is no rhyme or reason to the presentation of the cases, so it is still hard to trace individuals involved even within its pages (similar to the author's point of how impossible it is to track individual a ...more
Feb 17, 2010 Krista rated it liked it
Shelves: library-find
I had seen this book in a library in MT ages ago and finally tracked it down. Initially, I was concerned because I thought it would be filled with anti-zoo sentiment, but was pleased to find that the author was a volunteer keeper with the National Zoo. So not anti-zoo, but definatly anti-zoo policy (which is justified). There were lots of stories about how zoos "dispose" of their unwanted animals, both old and young. So many that they blended together and each chapter was very similar to the las ...more
Jan 15, 2011 Jen rated it it was ok
This book reads at first much like a list of rules broken, animals traded into the wrong hands, etc. About 200 pages in, the author finds out how to write and tells the facts in a more interesting way. I wish he'd spent more time on possible solutions than a simple list of problems and zoos that trade to shady exotic animal dealers. Some of his stances are also unclear; he at first condemns the exotic animal meat trade and then suggests it later as a solution to the problem of excess zoo animals ...more
Aug 06, 2015 Harvey rated it really liked it
- Behind the scenes at the local zoo, masked by the publicity campaign trumpeting the arrival of a new-born exotic animal (the public loves baby animals), no one questions the disappearance of that two-or-four-year-old tiger/giraffe/panther. This investigative work traces animals from reputable zoos to exotic meat suppliers; disreputable petting zoos; fly-by-night 'breeders' (with histories of animal cruelty charges)...and how about those "canned hunts". Yes, I thought it very de
Jordyn Boettinger
May 30, 2015 Jordyn Boettinger rated it liked it
The only frustration I had with this book, was that, although it was VERY well researched and written, Mr Green used a lot of blanket statements. Altogether, though, it was a fascinating and well documented trail of the corruption that can often be found in the heart of zoos, animal ranches, and private owners when they cross the line into animal smuggling.
Jul 22, 2009 Mel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic
Lots of interesting facts, but after a while it became very repetitive and mundane. The author began to reiterate the same things, listing so many people it was hard to keep track of and almost instilled a sense that all zoos are not to be trusted.
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