Mooresville, IN (PRWEB) August 23, 2005
The Feline Conservation Federation expresses profound sorrow and regret for the tragic incident that resulted in the death of Kansas high school senior Haley Hilderbrand. FCF President Robert Turner issued a statement, "Our condolences extend to Haley Hilderbrand's family, as well as the Lost Creek Sanctuary."
The USDA - United States Department of Agriculture - regulates all public exhibitions of animals and requires exhibitors to provide barriers between large carnivores and the public. Turner explained, "It is imperative that all keepers of large felines adhere to these rules, because as this most recent tragedy points out, even well-trained animals have the potential to act unexpectedly.
Turner noted that most exotic feline owners are responsible, caring and loving people who spend a great deal of time with their animals ensuing that they are well cared for and protected from harm. "The mistakes and misjudgments of a few, in no way represent the actions of the majority of exotic feline keepers."
The FCF will continue to work with all exotic cat owners to increase keeper safety through continuing education classes. FCF conducts Basic Wild Cat Husbandry Courses across the country. The next scheduled class takes place on October 29th in Springfield, Oregon. "We encourage and welcome all exotic cat owners, exhibitors and the general public alike to these courses to meet with the community and keep up to date with current husbandry techniques and safety methods. Education of the keeper is the key to safety," says FCF certified course instructor Carol Bohning.
FCF Director Lynn Culver who has raised exotic cats for over 20 years, warns against the recent trend of legislative over-reaction, "Passing ban laws that remove freedoms and prohibit all activities in response to those who didn't follow existing regulations, is not in the best interests of species conservation."
Culver points out that the world's wildlife is under increasing threat from poaching and habitat loss due to human encroachment. "Today, more then ever, USDA licensed and inspected facilities are vitally important. Captive wildlife is needed for educational ambassadors and species survival."
FCF is an internationally recognized organization devoted to responsible captive husbandry. Members are professional exhibitors, breeders, collectors, educators, researchers and pet owners. All FCF members pledge to follow all applicable local, state and federal regulations. They take appropriate precautions ensuring the health and safety of the public. Simultaneously, they take care not to jeopardized and thereby threaten the animal, which is vitally important, along with providing care and facilities for the physical and psychological needs of the feline.
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