Tuesday, October 8, 2013
American voters support nationwide ban of big cat private ownership
According to Fox23.com: "Around 10:20 a.m., Saturday, the Garvin County Dispatch received a call in reference to an accident at the G.W. Exotic Animal Park near Wynnewood, Okla. Emergency medical service was dispatched along with Garvin County Sheriff's Office.
"Upon arrival, deputies and EMS workers learned a female zoo employee was conducting her rounds, which included taking care of the tigers. Witnesses told deputies the employee had placed her arm into the tiger cage to either place or remove a lock on a smaller cage, where the tiger was located. At that time, the tiger bit into the employee's arm. The employee was unable to remove her arm fast enough, but the G.W. staff did manage to get the tiger off of the employee and render aid until EMS arrived. The female employee suffered severe injuries."
The Humane Society of the United States released a statement in regard to the incident at the Oklahoma animal park, stating: "We warned last year after our undercover investigation that GW Exotics may have more dangerous exotic animals than any other roadside zoo in the nation. At this facility, people are allowed to play with and handle some of the world’s most lethal carnivores. This is not the first incident that has taken place at this facility.
"During our investigation, it was revealed that in 2011 alone, tigers from GW Exotics bit three members of the public at a fair, a young girl was bitten on the leg during the ‘play cage’ portion of a park tour, a tiger cub scratched a young child while he was posing for a picture with the animal, and a 20-week-old tiger knocked down and bit a small child. This facility is a ticking time bomb waiting for the next incident to occur which tragically did today.
"GW Exotic Animal Park houses approximately 200 tigers and other dangerous exotic animals and acts as a petting zoo that breeds tiger and bear cubs for the public to pet and play with for a fee.
"That’s why the HSUS is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prohibit public contact with tigers and other dangerous wildlife and urging the Oklahoma legislature to finally prohibit the private possession of dangerous wild animals. Substandard roadside zoos like the G.W. Exotic Animal Park have no business possessing these animals."
The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 1998/S.1381), a Congressional bill initiated by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, would prohibit the private possession and breeding of tigers, lions and other big cats in the United States; and according to a new poll released by IFAW, 75 percent of voters across the country are in support of the bill.
"The public has spoken," IFAW Campaigns Officer Tracy Coppola points out. "The tragedy at GW Zoological Park highlights the urgency for a nationwide solution to America's big cats crisis. Without a solid ban on keeping these wild animals as 'pets' and breeding them for exploitative roadside zoo exhibitions, life-threatening incidents will continue to put people, including first responders, at risk."
Coppola added, "IFAW urges Congress to respond to the vast majority of their constituents by passing the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act."
Sources: IFAW, HSUS and Fox23.com
Image via HSUS