As you may know, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees Animal Welfare Act regulations concerning captive wildlife. However, it does very little in monitoring public handling of wildlife, like baby tigers, lions, bears, and primates at malls, fairs, and roadside zoos across the country. After they are too old to be used to pet, feed, pose with, and play with, the babies are often discarded at shoddy roadside zoos, sold into the pet trade, or killed for their meat. Allowing such close contact with wild animals is not only unsafe for the public, it also puts the animals’ health at risk, undermines conservation efforts, and drains valuable resources from nonprofit sanctuaries.
We need your help to urge USDA to stop public handling of wildlife!
Eight wildlife organizations, including Born Free USA and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), are asking USDA to prohibit public contact with captive wildlife. GFAS and several sanctuaries that are supported by AAVS’s Tina Nelson Sanctuary Fund, often become responsible for the care of animals who are rescued for this exploitive business. This puts a drain on their valuable resources, making it more difficult to provide refuge to animals relinquished from labs.
Help Captive Wildlife!
You can help protect wildlife by urging the USDA to prohibit public contact with captive wild animals like baby tigers, lions, bears, and primates. A sample letter is below. Comments must be made directly to USDA via the Federal Register website. While it is always more valuable to personalize your message, you may copy and paste the sample letter below into the “Comments” section on that website. Don’t forget to click “Submit!”
Deadline to comment is October 4, 2013!
Dear U.S. Department of Agriculture,
I am writing to ask USDA to issue Animal Welfare Act regulations, prohibiting public handling of big cats, bears, and primates, regardless of the animal’s age.
Allowing USDA licensees to use tiger, lion, and bear cubs or primates, for playing, petting, and photo sessions with the public fuels the exotic pet trade, puts the animals’ health at risk, endangers the public, and creates a burden for both law enforcement and nonprofit sanctuaries. Animals exploited this way are often discarded, ending up at unaccredited roadside zoos, the exotic pet trade, and even on dinner plates or in illegal wildlife trade.This practice is unsafe for the public, harmful to the animals, and undermines conservation efforts.
Please take swift action to prohibit public contact and close encounters with big cats, bears, and primates.
Thank you for your time and attention on this important issue.