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Exotic Animal Legislative Update from Vanessa Gagne

Thu, May 09, 2019 3:02 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

This week we welcome Vanessa Gagne as the
newest contributor to our OABA circle. 

Greetings, everyone.  I am excited to share my first update with you all today.  Click here for complete Legislative Update & Pending Legislation

At the beginning of April, The Bear Protection Act of 2019 (US HR 2264) was introduced.  While it does not directly affect us, I am keeping an eye on it since it has to do with the bear bile trade and thus the trafficking of bear parts.  In any case, it is good to see the US taking a stance on the awful practice of bile farms.  I will keep it on my own working copy of the legislation list and if anything pertinent ever comes up I will add it to our shared list.  

Yesterday, a meeting was held outside of Tallahassee concerning the Florida Fish and Wildlife and their rules about elephant rides. 

I am happy to report that the only changes will be administrative; FFW will keep the rules as is but make it easier for applicants to find out guidelines and rules for the issuance of permits.  

This meeting stemmed from the beginning of April when FFW asked the public for their opinions/statements about elephant rides within the state of Florida.  Many ARs showed up to the different meetings to show their disdain for the practice.  Conversely, our side sent dozens of supporters and speakers, many with years of hands on elephant experience, to keep the facts straight.  In fact, at the meeting yesterday, there were 15 participants: 2 against and 13 for keeping the rules as written.  HSUS and GFAS were the two opponents.  Among the 13 supporters were FAZA, ZAA, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Disney, and Two Tails Ranch.  The original rules about elephant rides were instituted many years ago after an accident at Zoo Miami and there hasn't been another incident in the entire state in 25+ years.  It is also important to note that there are only SEVEN ride elephants registered and permitted to operate in the entire state of Florida.  It is plain to see the deliberately targeted position of the ARs in this situation.  

I'd like to thank Ms. Zerbini of Two Tails Ranch for her first hand account of the meeting yesterday.  Because of this we can be ready for when the decision comes to amend the rules as we will all be well informed of the agenda.  

Cooperation will be how we stay strong and prevail in the end.

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