Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) April 30, 2014
The Feline Conservation Federation (FCF) warns that H.R. 1998, The Big Cats and Public Safety Act, introduced May 15, 2013 by Howard “Buck” McKeon of California, will actually harm conservation breeding and educational display of endangered species and deny the public opportunities to view these big cats. According to Lynn Culver, executive director of the FCF, “Frank Pallone of New Jersey, who signed on as a sponsor of this act April 29, is the 97th representative to be misinformed into supporting harmful, anti-conservation legislation."
HR 1998 would prohibit the possession and breeding of lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar, cheetah, puma or snow leopard by any of the hundreds of high quality zoological parks and nature centers and private facilities that are not members of the trade association known as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Culver has analyzed the potential effects of such legislation and has predicted that if H.R. 1998 should become law, genetic diversity will be lost forever and highly endangered felines could even disappear from the public eye.
H.R. 1998 prevents exhibitors that train big cats for shows, movies and educational presentations from obtaining these cats. H.R. 1998 prohibits most zoo parks from engaging in captive breeding programs with their big cat populations. “When USDA licensed and inspected professionals and zoos are prohibited from displaying big cats and educating the public, the legislation has gone too far”, warns Culver. “What is the point of having USDA inspectors, if the animal rights activists can manipulate legislators into eliminating the very industry that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspectors are funded to oversee?”
Federal laws already addressing the protection of these felines include the Animal Welfare Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Lacey Act, the Captive Wildlife Safety Act and the Rhino and Tiger Product Labeling Act.
“As for the risk to public safety,” Culver says, “the only tiger to have ever escaped and killed a member of the public was actually housed at an AZA zoo, which, ironically, is exempted from H.R. 1998.”
FCF is an internationally recognized non-profit organization founded on improving captive husbandry and supporting wild feline conservation. Professional members include breeders, educators and handlers who work at zoos, sanctuaries and nature centers around the country.