Parasites and Ethics: Ethics

November 19, 2022

Most people would not publish this story about parasites on their business page because most people are not ethical. We are. We are also trustworthy, reliable and our behavior is consistent in both public and private. We know this business is about relationships and optimal outcomes for these wonderful animals. That’s why we founded the project with an ethical goal in mind: individually-raised Furcifer pardalis (iPardalis).

We believe that sharing information about our experience with parasites will not only help our customers keep their animals healthy, but it could help build awareness and promote preventative actions throughout the industry. Our hope is that it will accomplish that goal and build stronger relationships with our friends and customers.

Our bottom line? It’s been bad for that. We have heard multiple rumors of competitors using the information for sales purposes, lying about how they do not have any parasites. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if someone has more than 10 chameleons, they have parasites. The prevalence rate is too high and parasites have evolved to stick around. The available drugs are not very effective at eliminating them and cleaners don’t kill them. So if someone says they haven’t found any - they haven’t looked hard enough, or they don’t know what they are looking for, probably both.

For those of you who have used this information to disparage our project, you don’t share our goals and the community will shun you. We know what you stand for. You will find yourself on the outside looking in.

The reality is chameleons have some aggressive parasites that have evolved to be pooped from the top of a tree, survive the fall and make their way back to a host 10-20 feet up. Parasites of terrestrial species have it easy. These guys are harder to kill, they are stickier and they can reproduce at a higher rate so a low dose still produces enough eggs to complete their direct life cycle. They may even exhibit vertical transmission from mother to child. A captive environment is a cake walk for these guys, and it can get out of control easily.

People who say they don’t have parasites are not to be trusted. The question is what do you do about your parasites. Do you focus on sanitation and ideal conditions to boost your chameleon’s immune system to keep the counts low? Do you buy lots of drugs and run it like a factory farm? Do you treat with the advisement of a vet (this means sometimes leaving healthy animals alone even if they test positive for a parasitic infection)? There’s no world where quarantine is 100 percent effective, and you have zero parasites. Many people like to pretend their chameleons don’t have parasites. Be very cautious around people in this fantasy world. It is about to come crashing down, or they are lying to you. Pick one.

We will always choose what is best for the animals and what is ethical. If it is bad for our short-term revenue, so be it. That is the same calculus we make for lights, quality of housing, live plants, supplements, food, you name it. It isn’t about profit for us. It is about doing what is right, and knowing that our customers respect and support that. That is the only way to run a business with living things at the center. We value their lives and well-being above all else.

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