Tell the USDA to Prohibit Public Contact With Dangerous Animals
Action Alert from All-Creatures.org

FROM

People for the Ethical People for Animals (PETA)
September 2013

[Ed. Note: Also see Tell USDA to Stop Public Contact with Captive Wildlife]

ACTION

Please take a moment now to submit a comment before October 4 to the USDA urging it to protect public health and animal welfare by prohibiting public contact with dangerous wild animals. You can submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal:

Go to: The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Proposed Rule: Petition to Amend Animal Welfare Act Regulations: Prohibit Public Contact with Big Cats, Bears, and Nonhuman Primates

And/or better yet, make direct contact:

Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
phone (202) 720-3631
fax (202) 720-2166
AgSec@usda.gov 

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

Disreputable exhibitors irresponsibly allow the public to have direct contact with dangerous wild animals—including big cats, bears, and primates—which has resulted in hundreds of serious injuries to humans and numerous human and animal fatalities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for adopting and implementing new regulations to protect animals. The USDA is now considering adopting regulations that would prohibit public contact with big cats, bears, and primates. We need your help to ensure that the USDA implements these new regulations for the sake of both animal welfare and public safety!

The following are just a few of the hundreds of incidents that illustrate that big cats, bears, and chimpanzees are dangerous exotic animals who can never be "tamed":

  • In 2012, a 24-year-old man was fatally mauled by a brown bear after a Montana exhibitor allowed him to enter the bear's enclosure.
  • Ten years ago next week, magician Roy Horn sustained life-threatening injuries when the tiger Monticor—who had been performing with the Siegfried & Roy magic show for more than six years—mauled Horn on stage in front of an audience of more than 1,000 people.
  • In 2009, Charla Nash was visiting her friend's Connecticut residence when the chimpanzee Travis—who had met Nash numerous times before—tore off Nash's face and hands—necessitating a full face transplant and leaving Nash blind. Travis was fatally shot by law-enforcement officials when they responded to the scene.

State governments and other officials look to the USDA to make decisions about these matters, and it is now up to the public to urge the USDA to implement regulations that will curtail the inexcusable risks associated with direct contact between the viewing public and dangerous animals.

Exhibitors will continue to jeopardize animal welfare and public safety until forced to do otherwise by the USDA. Please take a moment now to submit a comment to the USDA urging it to protect public health and animal welfare by prohibiting public contact with dangerous wild animals. You can submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

Feel free to use the sample comment below, but remember that a personalized comment is always more effective. Public comments are highly regarded, and officials listen to them when making decisions, so please also forward this alert to anyone who cares about animal welfare or public safety!

Sample comment: I am writing to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make the right decision for animal welfare and public safety by implementing regulations that prohibit public contact with big cats, bears, and nonhuman primates of any age.

Hundreds of humans have been injured, and dozens of humans and animals alike have been killed as the result of human contact with captive big cats, bears, and nonhuman primates. The conditions to which these animals are subjected by exhibitors and dealers in captivity are frequently abusive and deprive them of everything that is natural and important to them. Experts agree that animals who are subjected to abuse and deprivation are prone to unpredictable, potentially dangerous behavior. It is inconsistent with the stated purpose of the Animal Welfare Act for the USDA to continue to allow public contact with dangerous exotic animals who may be abused and manipulated but never tamed.


Thank you for everything you do for animals!


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