(PRWEB) February 19, 2004
Exotic animal owners breathed a sigh of relief after the Washington legislative season ended without a bill passing that owners say would have halted conservation efforts and forced good owners to give up their animals.
ÂThis was very harmful legislation," Lynn Culver said about HB 1511. ÂWe are very pleased that legislators listened to the message of the exotic animal community."
Culver is Legal Affairs Director for the non-profit Feline Conservation Federation, an organization that supports private ownership and responsible captive husbandry.
Culver said she and FCF blame the news media for "generating a moral panic" over exotic animal ownership.
ÂSomeone like Antoine Yates, the New York apartment-dweller who kept an adult tiger and a five-foot caiman, is unusual," she said. "He was bizarre. That makes him news.Â
ÂThe media focus on people like him and ignore the thousands of normal exotic animal owners.Â
Tracy Wilson, FCF Director of Conservation, said the FCF applauded the many Washington state representatives who protected exotic animals and the rights of their owners.
ÂThe exotic animal community wants every animal to enjoy a safe and happy life with a loving and responsible owner,Â she said.
"The choice under this bill was either placing them in already overloaded sanctuaries ... or, worse, forced euthanasia. That motivated animal lovers to unite and speak out against this bill.Â