They are bred for captivity, you know? I'm not taking some from the wild! I feel like you said that blindly, and feel a little hurt. That's like saying our pet cats should be wild, or our dogs should be wild... just because some are (or "feral" in a better term) doesn't mean they should all be released.
Not to mention, a single outdoor cat can kill 1000 animals in a year, so releasing them is really out of the question. Honestly, besides humans, cats are the single most destructive invasive species on the planet.
I do agree that there is something to be said for captive bred animals. It is important of course to understand what the animal needs and not to simply buy an exotic because it is cool. However, many captive animals do FAR better in pet homes than in the wild, their lifespans doubling, and in proper homes, their stress level being infinitely lower than those in the wild. Not to mention, domestication is happening, and it is happening incredibly fast compared to the domestication of dogs, as we know enough psychology of animals to determine which animals can be bred to increase tameness.
The silver fox experiment is something to look up. In fifty years, the foxes have become as tame and domestic as dogs, and through simply breeding them for tameness, new colors and fur patterns and sizes have started to show up. It's really like watching dogs be domesticated in the current day. Absolutely incredible.
People who get exotics because they are cool and who give them bad homes often times give their own dogs and cats bad homes as well. I do believe people need more education and should not be able to impulse buy animals with special needs that are not common knowledge. But I have worked with wild and captive bred animals--and even in reptiles, there is an incredible difference. I know my boa would not survive in the wild. She has never been fed live food. She has never had to search for warmth, or learn fear of predators. Compared to a wild boa, she is incredibly docile and patient. She would die within a month, even in her native habitat. But I don't feel I am doing her a disservice by keeping her in my home. In the wild I see boas with incredibly painful scars and infections. Hunted for their meat and skins, they can sometimes barely live long enough to just become someone's new pair of shoes. Not to mention their natural predators, or parasite infestations from feeding on unhealthy prey items. They were built to survive in that environment, and I believe we can replicate what they need to survive. For a reptile, that means you MUST provide them with the exact heat and humidity they would thrive in in the wild. They need to feel safe, that means providing hiding places. They need water. Food. Exercise. Exercise can be done in a home, they don't need to wander an entire jungle--they wouldn't anyway, they pretty much stay in one area. Letting them climb, crawl, explore, stretch, while giving them every aspect of their environment they were built to survive in--and giving them nutritious foods that are healthy and parasite free.. That makes for an incredibly happy reptile :) my snake never has to die until it is her natural time, and until then, she is going to enjoy her life to the fullest! Now... Getting a snake, keeping it warm with a hot rock without monitoring temps, giving it whatever as food, not really researching what they need..That is wrong. That does not make a happy reptile.
If you aren't willing or able to do what it takes and spend the money needed to have a healthy animal--you really should reconsider having that animal. By taking ownership of a living thing, you have the responsibility to give it everything it needs. In the wild, if a lizard gets too hot, it can hide, burrow, swim. Get away from the heat. And possibly survive. In a glass cage..if a lizard gets too hot, and an owner isn't there to intervene..it is trapped..it will die. You will kill an animal that could have lived. Give the lizard the right temps and humidity, you will see it grow, thrive, and display all of it's natural beauty for you to see, and it will live in a reptile paradise. A dog in the wild will hunt for prey, get good nutrition, get all the exercise it needs. In a home, all it can eat is what you give it..feed it good food, or it could really live a far shorter life than it should. Give it the best food you can, feed and exercise it right, play and love the dog and be a proper pack leader..and that dog is living a dream of a life. Or a betta. We all know how they live in the wild. They can die in droughts, or they can survive and get to better waters. And in a betta coffin....We know how that goes. But give it a big, heated tank, feed him right...and see your fish thrive!! :)
There is no room for ignorance when owning a pet. If you don't know--research. If you think you know--research more! "I didn't know it needed ________ to survive!" Is never fun to say, when you realized you accidentally ended your pets life. :(
So tl;dr: Animals can often thrive in captivity. Sometimes they have no choice, there is no wild for them to go to. But you better do your best to do what's right for your pet. You don't want the guilt of their death or suffering to be on your shoulders.
Edit: omg, I am so sorry. Wall of text. ;^; I talk too much.