Now this was unexpected. According to an article in USA Today, wildlife officials in Florida say recent trends in petfoods have spurred an illegal internet business hawking wild game.
Citing the "prey model" pet diet, Florida Today writer Jim Waymer quotes Lieutenant George Wilson, head of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Internet Crimes Unit: "The philosophy behind it is feeding your pet a hormone-free, naturally grazed diet. We're seeing solicitations for wild ducks, anything wild." Wilson said his unit has arrested 177 people and issued 92 warnings to date for the illegal buying or selling of raw wildlife, and he claims some of those people were making purchases for their pets.
The article also says pet owners are posting queries on sites such as Craigslist and eBay, saying they are seeking animals such as squirrels, pheasant, rabbits, geese, ducks, chickens -- "just about any game to feed their cats and dogs," Waymer writes. "Some seek raw fish, meaty bones and organs such as hearts, livers and kidneys -- everything a growing carnivore needs."
Neither Wilson nor Waymer make a direct, specific link to growing commercial (and legal!) petfood categories such as raw and "wild." The latter typically features low or no grains and higher levels of meat (often fresh meat). But the writer does refer to the 2007 melamine-related petfood recalls, saying "going raw may have gotten a boost" from that situation.
Other than the numbers provided by Wilson, Waymer doesn't cite any data for how prevalent this practice is. Have you heard of it happening anywhere besides Florida, or have you seen such solicitations online? Do you see any link between the commercial raw and wild pet diets increasingly available in pet stores and other retail outlets, and these illegal sales of wild game?