Rexano Editorial by Zuzana Kukol, http://www.rexano.org/ 

Las Vegas, NV, August 16, 2007—The extreme animal rights (AR) propaganda driven Captive Wildlife Safety Act (CWSA) was originally signed into the law by President Bush in 2003. The Fish and Wildlife agency which is responsible for implementing it just released their regulations today in The Federal Register, and the law is supposed to take an effect on September 17, 2007.

CWSA, from the start, was misleadingly advertised as the bill that would prohibit interstate commerce of exotic cats as pets and for public safety.

However, when you look at the facts (something our legislators don’t know how to do), the scenario is quite different with this tax payers’ money wasting bill. The most sinister part of this bill is how it affects the non commercial activity relating to the pet big cats. To quote: “The CWSA amends the Lacey Act by making it illegal to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase, in interstate or foreign commerce, live lions, tigers, leopards, snow leopards, clouded leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, or cougars, or any hybrid combination of any of these species, unless certain exceptions are met.”

The key word in the paragraph above is ‘transport’. What this means is that if you are a legal non commercial, aka pet owner, of an exotic cat and want to move to another exotic animal friendly state, you are forbidden to take your beloved pet with you, no matter how long you owned the pet. Your choices are limited; send it to an overcrowded sanctuary or have it euthanized.
Taking your pet with you to move into another state is not and should never be considered a commercial activity. People should be allowed to take an animal they legally own already, there is no commerce involved. Federal government is trying to overstep their boundaries by attempting to regulate people’s freedom to take their legally acquired property (which animals are) with them to another state where the animal is legal to own. By outlawing the process of crossing the state line with exotic cat pet, our federal government is increasing the number of exotic cats in need of a new home or worse, sentencing them to death if no new home is found in time. 

Animal rights groups claim we have too many homeless exotic cats, so how is this bill going to make the situation better? Didn’t this bill just make sure there really is no place for them to go by forcing dedicated pet owners to give up their pet or never move across the state lines??? The bill also reduces the number of available homes by making it illegal for a pet owner to adopt another out of state pet owner’s exotic cat, thus reducing the number of adoptive homes. 

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a big AR group and supporter of this bill says in their August 16, 2007 fearmongering press release:

“”Lions and tigers kept as pets in our communities are time bombs waiting to explode,” said Michael Markarian, HSUS executive vice president. “People get these animals as cubs and then are not equipped to care for them as they grow larger, but there is no place for them to go. It’s time the government cracked down on this dangerous and inhumane trade.” 

How did this bill make this situation more humane? However, this attitude shouldn’t be surprising coming from a group that is trying hard to keep their main stream animal welfare reputation to get donations, while making money selling animal euthanasia manuals.

HSUS is not affiliated with your local shelters and humane societies. According to Lee Nesler of the Western Pa. Humane Society: “…none of the money sent to the Humane Society of the United States ends up at your local shelter”.(http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/13832969/detail.html) 

HSUS press release continues with more half truths: “Ten people have been killed by captive big cats in the United States since 2001, and many more have been injured.” What they ‘forget to tell you is that 8 of these 10 fatalities happened at the facilities exempted from this bill; they happened to trainers and owners. That is occupational hazard they willingly accepted, but it is NOT a public hazard. What will we do next, ban firefighters because they die in a fire?

The remaining two were the family members of the owners, but NOT unsuspecting public. Do we really need more feel good laws that bring more donations to the Humane Society of the United States, but do absolutely nothing for the general public safety? 

Since 1990, on average, one person is killed by captive big cat in USA per year, majority is owners and trainers, none of the deaths were caused by escaped exotic cats:
http://www.rexano.org/Statistics/NumberOddsDeathLifeExotic.pdf

According to US Fish and Wildlife Service own web site: http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2005/CaptiveQA.pdf

“We recognize that a number of incidents involving big cat escapes and/or human injuries have been reported since December 2003. However, to our knowledge, many (if not most) of these incidents have involved owners who would be exempt under the CWSA and were not caused by, or related to, an act that would be prohibited under this law.”

This is correct, all fatalities between January 2004 thru present occurred as a result of occupational hazard to the trainers and owners, which is facilities exempt from this regulation. So what is the real agenda behind this bill?

When working with statistical data that deals with extremely rare occurrence, it is considered ethical and scientifically sound to include wide timeframe. For example, it would be extremely misleading to only include year 2001 in statistical analysis on how many people die on average of terrorists attack in NY city or on US soil in general, since that would mislead public into thinking that almost 3000 people die of terrorist attacks yearly in NY.

It would be fair to include a 20 year average of the 2001 fatalities though, bringing the yearly average over last 20 years to 150 dying due terrorist attacks per year on US soil .

HSUS press continues: “”We live in a world where lions in Africa and tigers in India are facing a downward spiral toward extinction. Our national efforts must be devoted toward saving these species in the wild.””

Unfortunately, wild habitat is disappearing and the only way to save them is in captivity.

If the animal rights activists truly care about animals, then why are they trying to regulate and ban these big cats captive habitat to extinction? What crime did the animals commit to be sentenced to death?

Many AR groups rather see them extinct than saved in captivity. Who put these suit wearing, big salary paid, professional animal rights activists into a position of wildlife experts? Who made them God to decide that future generations shouldn’t see a live tiger?

Captive primate safety act which ads primates to CWSA is now in Congress, and you can expect reptiles, birds and other species to be added on at a later time.

Even if you don’t own exotic animals, think about it. Considering that shelters are euthanizing domestic animals because there are not enough homes to adopt them all, how would you feel if the federal government passed laws that would make it illegal for you to take your domestic dog or cat with you across the state lines, thus forcing you to keep your pet illegally or take it to a shelter where it would likely be euthanized? 

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