Act Now for Captive Wild & Exotic Animals!
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is the division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) responsible for enforcing the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The AWA provides important protections for animals, though it is extremely lacking. APHIS is soliciting public comment on strengthening existing guidelines for the handling and exhibition of wild and exotic animals.
Improvements in this area could be critical to CWI's ability to help animals confined to circuses, zoos, and other entertainment facilities.
You may comment by clicking this link.
Feel free to use our suggested comment below, or to read the full text of the "Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" and form your own comments. You will need to include your email address and to identify yourself as "An Individual" (Please do not select "An Organization" as CWI will be submitting a lengthy document of our own and want to avoid any confusion in our messaging.)
Given the high risk to the public, the handlers, and the animals involved, I request a ban on full and protected contact activities as well as performances with all category 1 animals including riding, feeding, bathing, and photo opportunities. The only way to minimize risk and assure the well-being of category 1 animals is to disallow activities that compromise the health and well-being of all involved.
Any incident involving any category 1 animal should involve a written report submitted within one week of the incident. Deaths should trigger a mandatory necropsy reviewed by APHIS. All incident reports and necropsy results should be made available via the APHIS search mechanism.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has already established minimum standards for the appropriate keeping of animals based upon their unique physical, psychological, and emotional needs. These should be adhered to as a minimum standard of care for any exhibitor. Specifically, and for instance, the keeping of lone elephants must be banned. Traveling with elephants must also be banned, as the confinement of elephants for continual travel is contrary to every expectation known for maintaining their health and well-being.
Thank you for your consideration.