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FREE-LIVING

Each year, hundreds of millions of free-living animals are caught or harvested from the wild and then sold as food, pets, ornaments, leather, tourist curios, and medicine. From the depths of the oceans to the highest mountaintops, no environment is spared and all wildlife species can be drawn into this vast trade. These trading activities all have one thing in common: a direct and devastating effect on many animal populations, notably species currently threatened with extinction. One of the most powerful tools of all for addressing illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade is to persuade consumers to make informed choices when buying wildlife-based products. This includes not just the people buying the end product, but also shop-keepers, suppliers, and manufacturers. If we accept that sentience or consciousness should be the basis for moral consideration and protection, then we should give equal consideration to the interests of all nonhuman animals, wherever they live.

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