Outraged conservationists demand US wildlife laws
AFP: Outraged conservationists demand US wildlife laws.
Conservationists demanded action over non-existent US wildlife ownership laws after the slaughter of 49 animals, including 18 rare Bengal tigers, set free from a private Ohio farm.
“Quite frankly, nobody should have these animals in the first place so we need to take steps to change laws to make that a reality,” Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, told AFP.
Bears, lions, tigers, wolves and monkeys ran amok when owner Terry Thompson, 62, flung open the enclosures at his Muskingum County Animal Farm near the town of Zanesville on Tuesday evening and then shot himself.
Conservationists have for years demanded strict wildlife ownership laws in the United States, especially in Alabama, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin, where rules are utterly non-existent.
“All eight states that don’t have regulations should immediately have an executive order by the governor banning the keeping or sale of these animals,” Roberts told AFP. “Stop people acquiring these animals full stop.
“A ban is really the answer to this,” Delcianna Winders, PETA’s director of captive animal law enforcement, told AFP. “Private citizens just aren’t capable of giving these animals what they need.”
For the World Wildlife Fund, the loss of 18 Bengal tigers was particularly devastating as the number of tigers in the wild has declined rapidly, from around 100,000 at the beginning of the last century to as few as 3,200 today.
Leigh Henry, a leading WWF expert on captive tigers, told AFP there are thought to be an astonishing 5,000 tigers held in the United States, the vast majority of them, some 95 percent, in private hands.
NeilS – On the surface, the tragedy seemed to be that all these animals were killed and not tranquilized or captured. Yet, as the story goes, it is very difficult to tranquilize wild animals in daylight, let alone at night, and human lives were at stake. In reality, it appears that the substandard rules that many states have regarding private ownership of exotic animals is really to blame. In eight states you don’t need any kind of license to own a wild and endangered Bengal tiger? This clearly seems absurd. I can only hope that this tragedy will shake these states into action making it much more difficult for the average private citizen to own animals that take such great expertise to handle.