MO ban on contact proposed
Feb 26, 2009
St. Louis — Veterinarians and owners soon may be the only ones allowed to
handle exotic animals in Missouri.
A new law proposed by the Missouri Senate would change the current exotics
law, moving refuges as permitted homes for the animals. Exotics still could be
kept in zoos, circuses, scientific or educational institutions, research
laboratories and veterinary hospitals. The types of animals governed by this law
would be narrowed, too, with margays, jaguarondis, coyotes and certain
reptiles being removed from the list.
Exotic-animal owners, who would be forced to register and microchip their
animals, also would not be allowed to bring them to any public, commercial or
retail establishment unless it is a veterinarian or veterinary clinic,
according to the proposed law.
The animals could not come into contact with anyone other than the owner,
possessor, handler or veterinarian.
Violations of the law, if passed, would be considered a Class A misdemeanor.
Some groups claim the measure would create a monopoly, in that it would
require any zoo that houses the animals to have been accredited by the
Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a private nonprofit organization. Similar
organizations include the Uniting a Proactive Primate and Exotic Animal League
(UAPPEAL), the United States Zoological Association and the Zoological
Association of America, but none was included as options for zoo accreditation in the bill.
Educational institutions and research laboratories that house the animals
also would have to be accredited, but no specifications for accrediting
institutions were listed in the bill, and veterinary hospitals that house
exotics would need to be permitted by the Missouri Veterinary Medical Board.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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