By Gary Bogue
Friday, August 17th, 2007 at 7:46 am in Animal protection legislation.
Thursday, after a mysterious delay of almost four years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service FINALLY finalized its long-awaited regulations to implement the Captive Wildlife Safety Act which Congress passed unanimously AND President Bush signed into law waaay back in late 2003.
This law prohibits interstate commerce in lions, tigers and other big cats AS PETS.
This morning, The Humane Society of the United States sent me the following update on the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which saves me a whole LOT of personal research to pull all this stuff together for you to read. Thank you, HSUS!
The HSUS says:
“Lions and tigers kept as pets in our communities are time bombs waiting to explode,” said Michael Markarian, HSUS executive vice president. “People get these animals as cubs and then are not equipped to care for them as they grow larger, but there is no place for them to go. It’s time the government cracked down on this dangerous and inhumane trade.”
Ten people have been killed by captive big cats in the United States since 2001, and many more have been injured. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 big cats are kept in private hands in the United States, and they are readily available at exotic animal auctions and over the Internet.
The new federal rule complements the laws many states have enacted to prohibit private possession of big cats as pets. It targets the pet trade and has no impact on federally licensed facilities such as zoos. It also exempts legitimate wildlife sanctuaries, but does not exempt pseudo-sanctuaries that breed or trade the animals.
“Not only are these animals incredibly dangerous when held privately, but they hold no conservation value in backyards and basements,” noted Adam Roberts, vice president of Born Free USA. “We live in a world where lions in Africa and tigers in India are facing a downward spiral toward extinction. Our national efforts must be devoted toward saving these species in the wild.”
Similar legislation is under consideration by the U.S. Congress to protect monkeys, chimpanzees, and other primates. The Captive Primate Safety Act was introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and David Vitter (R-La.) in the Senate (S. 1498) and Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.) and Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) in the House (H.R. 2964). The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved the bill unanimously on July 31, and it now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
Timeline for the Captive Wildlife Safety Act:
September 17, 2007 — Captive Wildlife Safety Act becomes effective
August 16, 2007 — Final regulations published in the Federal Register
January 31, 2006 — Regulations proposed for 30-day comment period
December 19, 2003 — Captive Wildlife Safety Act signed into law
You’ll find more interesting stuff about what’s happening with animals at http://www.hsus.org