(PRWEB) March 11, 2004
Minnesota Agriculture Committee members amended an Exotic Animal bill and gained the support of the Feline Conservation Federation, a national organization of feline keepers.
FCF Legal Affairs Director Lynn Culver says ÂHF1593 sponsored by Representative Steve Strachan is now a bill that works. All the important points are covered. All owners register their animals and pay a fee. The state has tracking information. Caging and health care standards are defined."
ÂThis is definitely a win-win situation. HF1593 will protect the personal freedom to have an animal business or an exotic pet and insure that all owners meet care guidelines", says Culver.
Statistics show family farms that raise exotic animals support many other businesses, such as veterinarians, feed companies and building supply stores. Most income generated by USDA licensed facilities arrives from out of state sales and most expenses incurred are local. Culver points out, ÂThis means that not only are private USDA licensed breeders helping wildlife species, they are also important to rural economies.Â
FCF has worked with feline owner members in Minnesota and the Responsible Animal Owners Association of Minnesota (RAOAM) to educate the Minnesota legislators about the value of privately owned exotic animals.
The FCF opposes SF1530, sponsored by Senator Don Betzel, a different exotic animal bill that would prohibit private ownership. ÂRadical groups backing this bill are against you owning any exotic animals,Â Culver said, Âand they want them sterilized and forced into sanctuaries. ThatÂs not protection Â thatÂs extinction. If the animal rights movement has their way, there will not be any future generations of wildlife for Americans to learn from or enjoy.Â
Culver notes the media focus on sensational stories hurts the good owners. ÂAntoine Yates, the Harlem apartment dweller who kept a tiger is not a normal exotic owner, but that is who the media covers. The exotic animal community consists of many thousands of responsible owners and you never read about them. This sort of tabloid journalism is fueling the animal rights agenda to ban exotic animal ownership.Â
The House Civil Law Committee will hear HF1593 Friday March 12. The FCF urges Committee members to approve this amended version of the bill. Culver says, ÂThe Animal Rights agenda has no place in a state that supports personal freedom and is completely capable of regulating this agricultural activityÂ.