Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tigers vs. tenants:

Tigers vs. tenants: Wildlife reserve ruffles St. Johns County residents



By DEIRDRE CONNER,
The Times-Union

The residents of Mill Creek Estates don't agree on everything: How loud is a lion's roar? How many acres should be required to house a dozen big cats and a pack of wolves? And who should regulate them?
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The once-agricultural St. Johns County neighborhood is the location of the St. Augustine Wild Reserve, home to dozens of big cats and wolves. Some of the neighbors don't like having it nearby. But they will agree on one thing: This is not your average neighborhood dispute.

Conflicts like it are one of the reasons why the state's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is in the years-long process of updating regulations on captive wildlife. But, as the commissioners found at their meeting last week in Jacksonville, it's never that clear-cut. In another round of proposed regulations, the commission got an earful from exotic wild animal owners, breeders, and rescuers - and from ordinary residents who want stricter controls over who should own wildlife, and where.

The animals at the Wild Reserve are loud, said Don Enders, who lives on nearby Silo Road, and some residents fear for their safety.

"Would you want to live next to a tiger?" Enders said.

Deborah Warrick, the owner and founder of the sanctuary, said her animals are not a disturbance. At her house on the property, the sound of the lion's roar is muffled, she said.

A rule passed in 2007 prohibits having Class I wildlife - inherently dangerous animals such as lions, tigers and elephants - in solely residential neighborhoods. The rule is just one of many new and proposed updates to captive wildlife rules, which are governed by the state.

The goal is to strengthen regulations to prevent exotic animals from further hurting Florida's ecosystem, and keep the exotic animal trade better in check.

Reserve meeting standards

The reserve, on Farm Creek Road just off Pacetti Road, has passed all inspections and the cages exceed requirements for size and strength, according to records provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Animals seized by FWC from other homes that were abusive or not properly permitted have been placed there.

Warrick said Enders, who has owned his parcel for decades but recently built a house on it, has resurrected an issue that had been settled long ago.

"It's been peaceful here for eight years," she said. "We're doing a service to the state."

Enders - and at least three other neighbors who agree with him - hasn't been to the reserve. But they believe it doesn't belong in their neighborhood, which consists mostly of 5-acre plots, dotted with trees and horse pastures. Enders has complained to various agencies, including the FWC, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office and the county code enforcement department.

What he found: Warrick is abiding by all county and state regulations.

The reserve's land is zoned open rural, said James Acosta, supervisor of code enforcement for St. Johns County. Despite that, a school, golf course and suburban subdivision are nearby, a product of rapid development in northern St. Johns. Acosta said the county has not received complaints about the other wildlife owners in the county, which has a handful of exhibitors and wildlife rehabilitators.

Even if it were subject to the 2007 rule, Warrick's reserve, which opened in 2000, would be grandfathered in, according to Capt. John West, coordinator of the captive wildlife division of FWC.

Good mission, bad location

As development eats up once-open land, the issue has cropped up more, West said. There's no easy solution.

Ultimately, such issues are bound to grow in Florida, where the combination of climate, growth and regulation make it a haven for wildlife mayhem, said Beth Preiss, director of the exotics campaign for the Humane Society of the United States. The society supports proposals to notify neighbors of Class I wildlife and other stricter regulations.

Barely a week goes by without news from around the state of wild animals - especially reptiles - that are injured, seized or found on the loose. When they are captured, they are either euthanized or sent to a sanctuary like the St. Augustine Wild Reserve.

Even the unhappy neighbors mostly agree with the organization's mission, although they don't support its location. The reserve, a tax-exempt charity, keeps animals - mostly cats of various species and sizes, as well as wolves, lemurs and birds - from a variety of backgrounds. Some are castoffs from the entertainment industry, others are unwanted pets. Two of the leopards are missing a leg.

Warrick supports strengthening captive wildlife regulations, including moving cougars, which are present at the reserve, to the Class I, or inherently dangerous, classification that prohibits them as pets.

And she would support stricter proposed record-keeping for those who breed and sell big cats or use the babies for photo opportunities. Members of an advisory group say tiger cubs have been warehoused or euthanized after they grew too big for such purposes.

"I don't think the state should be lax in regulating dangerous animals," Warrick said.

deirdre.conner@jacksonville.com (904) 359-4504



This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/092308/met_335431715.shtml.


Jennifer Hobgood, Ph.D.
Florida State Director
The Humane Society of the United States
1624 Metropolitan Circle Suite B
Tallahassee, Florida 32308
(850) 386-3435


--
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

http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above. You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Thursday, September 18, 2008

H.R.1464: 'To assist in the conservation of rare felids

H.R.1464: 'To assist in the conservation of rare felids and rare canids by supporting and providing financial resources for the conservation programs of nations within the range of rare felid and rare canid populations and projects of persons with demonstrated expertise in the conservation of rare felid and rare canid populations. '
    The following 1 activity occurred on this bill:
    • Committee on Environment and Public Works. Ordered to be reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute favorably.


--
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

http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above. You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Sunday, September 14, 2008

FL Hearing on Captive Wildlife Rules

Big Cats on the Menu


Lions on the menu in FloridaThis page was devoted primarily to pending changes in Florida's captive wild animal rules, but even if you are not from Florida, this could make a big difference where you live because Florida currently produces more big cats than any other state. These cats are hauled all over the country, and sometimes even to foreign countries where people are not as concerned with protecting animals.



When the cats cats can no longer be used to support their owners they are often dumped along the way; sometimes into the hands of unwitting exotic pet owners, sometimes they are served up in restaurants and sometimes they are dumped into the wild with no survival skills. Ending the trafficking of exotic cats in Florida will greatly reduce the number of these cats who end up suffering in all parts of the world.


The comment period on these proposed rules closes at 5PM on Jan. 1, 2009, but there is a public hearing on Sept. 17-19 8 am - 3 pm daily at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront
225 East Coast Line Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Phone: (904) 588-1234 Join us there and speak up for the animals. This sort of egregious behavior just has to stop.



Please mail or email your comments about lions being served on the menu in Florida with this quick and easy form or to the following:
















FL Wildlife Conservation Commission

c/o Captain Linda Harrison

620 S. Meridian Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600

RuleChanges@MyFWC.com
(850) 488-6251

Spoto's Steak Joint
c/o

owner/chef Jim Stewart

1280 Main St

Dunedin, FL 34698

www.spotossteakjoint2.com

(727) 734-0008

St. Pete Times Editor

490 First Avenue South

St. Petersburg, FL 33701

http://www.sptimes.com/letters/

(727) 893-8111


Reporter Tamara El-Khoury



490 First Avenue South

St. Petersburg, FL 33701

tel-khoury@sptimes.com

(727) 445-4181
Contact your lawmaker by your zip code HERE


This story ran July 5, 2008 on the cover of the Tampa Bay Times and was a half page cover story in the Clearwater Times which are all part of the St. Pete Times.


Care for a Tasty Lion Chop?



By: Tamara El-Khoury


DUNEDIN — I've sampled snails in France, pig's ear in Brazil and stuffed lamb intestines in Lebanon. But I experienced my most exotic culinary adventure last week in Dunedin, FL at Spoto's Steak Joint.


A reader had called, pointing out that the restaurant's marquee advertised African lion, rattlesnake, bison, elk and boar.


Along with summer intern Jackie Alexander, I was sent to try it out. And, as it happens, I was a good choice for the assignment. As a Lebanese-American I know what it's like to eat "different'' foods. I was the kid eating a brie and pita bread sandwich or stuffed grape leaves for lunch.


I learned not to judge foods until I had tasted them. Having done just that at Spoto's, here's my verdict:


Eating LionThe elk was fabulous.


The kangaroo sweet.


The lion tasted a bit like ribs.


(We'll get to the rattlesnake later.)


We started with the Game Sampler for $25.95, which comes with generous helpings of kangaroo, boar and rattlesnake. But we substituted elk for the snake. The meal was served with steamed asparagus and roasted garlic mashed potatoes.


We also ordered the South African Lion Chop dish, a 14-ounce lion rib chop, char grilled for $48.


Spoto's owner and chef Jim Stewart said all his game is farm raised and USDA approved. The kangaroo is from Australia and the lion is farm raised in South Africa and processed in Colorado. The snake and boar come from Texas and the elk comes from Alaska, Canada or New Zealand.


Stewart has built a niche out of serving unusual meats. Previous menus have included ostrich, bear and python. He sends e-mails to 1,000 patrons when he serves a new type of game.


"Gosh, where else can you go and get barbecue prime ribs, steak … duck and lion or bear or whatever at any given time?" he said. "We've kind of built ourselves a little name for that, and it's caught on."


After munching on chicken liver pate, warm baguettes and salad, our dinners arrived. We were both surprised.


"It looks like regular food," Jackie said.


First, I tried the kangaroo. It was sweet and easy to chew, unlike any other meat I've tried. Then the elk, my favorite, which was so tender, Jackie commented it was better than filet mignon. The boar tasted a little heavier than roasted pork.


Finally, it was time to try the lion. The meat was less tender than the others and came with part of the bone, making it difficult to cut. The taste is difficult to describe, sort of a cross between pork chops and ribs.


Pleased with our delicious meal, Jackie and I were ready to wrap things up when photographer Joseph Garnett noted that we had not tried the rattlesnake.


No, I said.


Snakes scare me. I didn't want one near my mouth. Then Joseph used the "w" word — wimp. So I ordered a small side of snake. I asked that it please not look like snake.


"Snake, snake!" a child chanted in the background.


I made small talk to hide my nervousness, and when the dish arrived, my heart was pounding. It looked like snake. Bones poked out through the meat. Before I could panic, Stewart handed me a fork. I closed my eyes and dug in.


The meat was chewy and had a bland taste, kind of like turkey. It was dressed in a light barbecue sauce that had a little kick to it. If I hadn't psyched myself out, I might have taken another bite.




If you are wondering how it is that lions end up on the menu then you may be interested to know that despite many baby lions being bred in the US for photo ops and petting booths, they very rarely end up in need of rescue, like tigers do. Lions are not a protected species and can end up in canned hunts. We contacted a man in So. Africa and asked him if there was any connection between the pay-to-play-with-lions activities that are such popular tourist attractions in Africa and this was his response:



You are quite correct that such lion meat can only have come from the
canned lion hunting industry in South Africa. All captive lion
breeders in SA sell their progeny for hunting
because it is not only
the only market for them, but a very lucrative one. And they are
always looking for 'add-ons' whereby they can commercially exploit
another aspect of canned lion breeding. The current one is cub-
petting, whereby the cute and cuddly stage is exploited before the
animal is old enough to be hunted. In this way they can externalise the cost of rearing the victim. And now lion meat is being marketed to make canned lion breeding ever more profitable.


We have video footage of canned lion hunts in SA and they are part of
an audio-visual presentation on DVD which details the cruelty, and
offers insight into how and why canned hunting is so big in SA. It
eems to us that we really need to expose the link between this type
f restaurant and the horrific cruelty at every stage of the lions
lives once caught up in this awful industry. Let us try to turn this
report to advantage, and to use it to raise public awareness in
Florida/USA so that ethical customers will know to boycott such restaurants. Ideally there should be protests outside the restaurant to attract publicity.









Big Cat Rescue Gift Shop
Become a Big Cat Member

Kind regards,


Chris Mercer

Campaign against Canned Hunting

www.cannedlion.co.za

PO Box 356 Wilderness

6560 South Africa




Read Man Eating Lions article HERE



Rule Changes in Florida


Below is the summary of the rules proposed by the FWC and Big Cat Rescue's comments are in bold. Some of these have changed since the comment period first opened up in June 2008. You can download the latest drafts of rule changes here:


Summary of Draft Rule Changes as of September 2008


Captive Wildlife Record Keeping


Categories of Captive Wildlife


Using Wildlife and Liability Bond Requirement


Exceptions to Standard Caging Requirements


Caging Requirements


Permit Requirements for Class I, Class II and Class III animals


Permit Requirements fof Possession of wildlife


Possession, Transfer and Record Keeping for Class I


Record Keeping and Reporting


Sanctuary Definintion


Cage Sizes


Caging and Transport of Circus Animals


Rehabilitation of Wildlife


Summary of Proposed Rule Changes - 2008

Chapter 68A-6, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.)


68A-6.002 Categories of Captive Wildlife


* Clarify that categories of wildlife includes taxonomic successors and subspecies thereof.

* Classification changes:


* Class I:

o Gaur (family Bovidae)

o Hyena and Aardwolf (family Hyaenidae)

o Cougars, panthers (Puma concolor)

o Cheetahs (Acinonyx jabatus) typo: jubatus

* Class II:

o Patas monkeys (genus Erythrocebus)

o Vervet, Grivet or Green monkeys (genus Chlorocebus)

o Change Bearded sakis to include all sakis (genus Chiropotes and Pithecea)

o Change reference of specific jackal species to all jackal species (family Canidae).

o Change reference of Gray wolves and Red wolves to all wolves (family Canidae); and delete reference to wolf x domestic hybrid percentage.

o Include American alligator (family Alligatoridae)

o Giraffe and Okapi (family Giraffidae)

o Tapirs (family Tapiridae)

o Wild cattle, forest, woodland, and arid land antelope and similar species of nonnative hoof stock of the family Bovidae.



Examples include: Forest buffalo, Banteng, Anoa, Waterbuck, Wildebeest, Hartebeest, Eland, Kudu, Nilgai, Bongo, lechwe, Roan and Sable antelope, Sitatunga, Bontebok, Blesbok, Topi, Kob, Addax, Oryx, Gemsbok, and other species of the family Bovidae which are of similar size, habits and nature.


* Delete percentage language associated with wolf x domestic hybrids.

o Include language to address the regulation of hybrids resulting from wild x domestic animal crosses which are substantially similar in size, characteristics, and behavior so as to be essentially indistinguishable from wild animals. This should apply to hybrid cats as well as they are being released into the wild and creating a Super Feral.

o Such hybrids to be regulated as wildlife at the highest Class if the wild parentage. as the wild parentage

* Provide that fox, skunks, bats, raccoons or white tail deer taken from the wild may not be possessed as personal use wildlife. add bobcats and cougars because of the rabies issue and the inability to distinguish between a native bobcat or cougar and a non native bobcat or cougar. Most other states already protect their native wildlife this way and with the FL Panther in such peril, it only makes sense.



68A-6.004 Standard Caging Requirements for Captive Wildlife


* Include proposals to use open air habitats, except as provided, must be approved in writing by the Commission prior to use before housing wildlife.

* Add the requirement for providing devices that allow for temperature regulation in Red Panda enclosures, as is necessary to ensure the well being of this species. Add: snow leopards, Amur tigers & Amur leopards.


68A-6.0011 Possession of Wildlife in Captivity; Permit Requirements


* Require USDA registered research facilities currently exempt from meeting the requirements of 68A-6, F.A.C., to maintain a detailed research proposal, annual record of progress toward research objectives and to meet cage strength requirements in 68A-6.003, F.A.C.

* Provide that the provisions of 68A-6, F.A.C., do not apply to Bison possessed exclusively for the purpose of production of meat, skins or hides, or progeny thereof.


68A-6.0022 Possession of Class I, II, or III Wildlife in Captivity: Permit Requirements


* Remove brushtailed possums from the list of wildlife that may be possessed for personal use without a permit. (Currently listed federally as an injurious species).

* Require experience for Class I and Class II to be with the species or other species in the same genus that are substantially similar in size, characteristics, care and nutritional requirements to the species for which the permit is sought . typo of a space before the period

* Require applicants for Class I and II to provide times experience was obtained. should include times, places and activities performed

* Increase the hours of experience requirement with test option, as provided for Class II applicants to 500 hours. (Same as VR)

* Modify reference requirements to allow for one of the references to be provided from a representative of a professional or governmental institution such as a University, Public Service agency, Zoological association or herpetological society. Associations and Societies should be defined as accredited or nationally recognized and not just a little band of exotic pet owners calling themselves an association or society.

* Provide that the experience requirements do not apply for alligators when possessed in accordance with 372.6673, F.S.

* Provide that the experience requirements do not apply to Bovidae when possessed in accordance with 372.16 or 372.661, F.S.

* Require corporations to have qualified personnel responsible for the care of Class I or II wildlife.

o Personnel must meet the experience requirements provided for Class I or II wildlife.

o Documentation of experience for such personnel must be submitted upon initial application and any change in personnel.

* Require a USDA license to be obtained within 180 days after initial application and maintained when Class I wildlife is possessed for exhibition or sale.

* Clarify language for Critical Incident/Disaster Plan requirement (372.921, 372.922, and 68A-6), modify form and form date.



68A-6.005 Transportation Requirements for Wildlife; Caging Requirements for Performing and Non-Performing Animals


* Include language in (1) (g) that all wildlife shall be transported in a cage or enclosure appropriate for the species. This really needs to be stated in concrete terms when transporting exotic cats. A circus wagon may contain a tiger, but in the back of a pick up truck there is no barricade to prevent public contact. You can eliminate some of the most abusive practices by restricting the transportation of big cats, except to and from the vet, to and from their final destination, such as in a transfer of ownership or under a previously filed circus itinerary which is open to public scrutiny in considerable advance of the event.

* Include language that all transport cages which contain wildlife shall be labeled "Caution or Danger – Wild Animal"


68A-6.007 Possession, Transportation, Exhibition and Caging Venomous Reptiles and Reptiles of Concern


* Clean up language for reptiles of concern to include their "taxonomic successors."

* Address taxonomic split of the amthistina complex in the genus Morelia to better reflect the intent of the listing of Amethystine or scrub pythons as reptiles of concern.

o Includes all subspecies of the genus Morelia that exceed 12' in length upon maturity.

* Modify reference requirements to allow for one of the references to be provided from a representative of a professional or governmental institution such as a University, Public Service agency, Zoological association or herpetological society.

* Require corporations to have qualified personnel responsible for the care of venomous reptiles.

o Personnel must meet the experience requirements provided for venomous reptiles.

o Documentation of experience for such personnel must be submitted upon initial application and any change in personnel.

o Consistent with requirements for Class I and II wildlife.

* Insert new form date for the Critical Incident/Disaster Plan form due to form modifications.


68A-6.0041 Exceptions to Standard Caging Requirements for Captive Wildlife


* Include Bison (when possessed for propagation purposes only) as exempt from standard caging requirements, except fencing requirements, of 68A-6.004.

* Corrected rule reference in paragraph (4), as necessary due to previous rule changes.


68A-6.003 Facility and Structural Caging Requirement for Class I, II and III Wildlife


* Require cages or enclosures that use the ground as flooring to have buried concrete footers or bottom apron to further prevent escape from digging or erosion. In 15 years we have never had a cat dig out because it just isn’t their nature. In the 700+ dangerous incidents involving exotic cats since 1990 not one of the 150+ escapes was attributed to a cat digging out. Records from 1919 to 1989 are not as plentiful, but none of them ever mentioned a cat escaping by digging out either. Escapes are almost always due to humans acting negligently and occasionally a big cat goes over the top or through a wall, but not underneath. This would be a punitive measure to require concrete floors, which are broadly known to cause debilitating injury to captive cats, or to require a concrete footer or apron with no benefit occurring for the cat or the public. This may be applicable to bears and wolves, who are known to dig, but should not apply to cages housing exotic cats of any kind. See the list of killings, maulings and escapes here: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/big_cat_news.htm






* Insert new form date for the Critical Incident/Disaster Plan form due to form modifications.

* Make changes to (2)(c)5. as necessary for newly proposed changes to Class I and Class II:

o The following proposed Class I wildlife may not be possessed on property within an area zoned solely for residential use: I have been in the real estate business for 25+ years and to my knowledge, and that of my colleagues, there is no zoning that is “solely for residential use” so that only plays to the uninformed and doesn’t really restrict anything. The most logical answer to where these animals should be housed, is the simplest: If a Class I animal cannot be kept for personal use and must be a business or sanctuary (a non profit business), then the business or non profit business must be located on land that is either commercially zoned, or a Planned Development specifically created for such a purpose. Grandfathering in existing cats would be acceptable as long as the cats were not replaced.

+ Gaur (family Bovidae)

+ Hyena and Aardwolf (family Hyaenidae)

+ Cougars, panthers (Puma concolor)

+ Cheetahs (Acinonyx jabatus)

* Make changes to (2)(d) as necessary for newly proposed changes to Class II non-human primates:

o Include all sakis as exempt from facility requirements as specified in (2)(c)1.-4.

o Exclude Patas monkeys as exempt facility requirements as specified in (2)(c)1.-4., due to size0 range upon maturity.

* Clarify in (2)(e) which facility requirements are being referenced when referring to the facility requirements that Class I or II are exempt from meeting.


68A-6.0021 Possession or Transfer of Class I Wildlife as Personal Use Wildlife; Transfer of Wildlife and Record Keeping Requirements


* Make change to rule title to include "Record Keeping Requirements"

* Provides a "grandfather" clause for any Class II wildlife possessed for personal use that is up listed to Class I.

o Any Class II wildlife that is up listed to Class I wildlife upon the effective date of Rule 68A-6.002, F.A.C., is eligible for a permit in accordance with the provisions for Class II wildlife.

* Provide in paragraph (1) that no other class I wildlife may be "transferred" or kept for personal use. The intent is to prevent continued acquisition of Class I for personal use by grandfathered entities.

* Require all Class I wildlife possessed for personal use to be permanently identified by means of tattoo, brand, passive integrated transponder (PIT tag), photographic id or other method that identifies the specimen from others of the same species.

o Specifies requirements in instances where photographic identification is used.

o Requires owners to maintain records of identification and submit same to FWC.

o Permanent identification requirements effective July 1, 2009.

* Change the length of time records of sale/transfer are required to be maintained to 3 years. Add: requirement that these transfers be submitted within 30 days to FWC where they are to be maintained and available to the public. The FWC is never going to have the resources to research these transfers to look for trends and animals who are falling through the cracks. It is only through public access via a transparent system that the abuses will be discovered and rectified.

* Specify that sale/transfer records are to include: date, quantity and species, name and complete address of recipient; and license identification number where applicable.

* Provide that record of sale/transfer are not required for that wildlife that may be possessed for personal use without a permit as specified in 68A-6.0022 (2) (a) – (v), except as otherwise required.



68A-6.0023 General Regulations Governing Possession of Captive Wildlife; Record Keeping Requirements


* In paragraph (2)(a) include "68A-6.007" as it pertains to requiring wildlife to be maintained in cages or enclosures constructed in compliance with the specified rules.

* Include language that requires out door enclosures for non-native venomous reptiles or reptiles of concern to be covered as provided in rule 68A-6.007.

* Require structural safety barriers to be present to prevent public contact with unconfined Class I or II wildlife by the public. These barriers should be constructed of similar construction materials and/or strength as the main enclosure, because a rope is sufficient…until one day it is not.

* Requires possessors to maintain an accurate record of all changes in inventory to include: births, deaths, acquisition and sales or transfers.

o Records are to be kept on the licensed premises and open to inspection. Add: requirement that these records be submitted within 30 days to FWC where they are to be maintained and available to the public. The FWC is never going to have the resources to research these transfers to look for trends and animals who are falling through the cracks. It is only through public access via a transparent system that the abuses will be discovered and rectified.


o Describes the information required for records of birth, death, and acquisition.

o Requires that records of sale/transfer are to be maintained as provided in 68A-6.0021, F.A.C. Add: requirement that these records be submitted within 30 days to FWC where they are to be maintained and available to the public. The FWC is never going to have the resources to research these transfers to look for trends and animals who are falling through the cracks. It is only through public access via a transparent system that the abuses will be discovered and rectified.



68A-6.0024 Commercialization of Wildlife; Public Contact; Bonding or Financial Responsibility Guarantee


* Delete reference to "public contact" in rule title. Language pertaining to public contact will remain in 68A-6.0023.

* Require persons permitted in accordance with 372.921, F.S., to demonstrate consistent and sustained commercial activity as characterized by:

o A regular media advertising campaign, or Internet Web site;

o Signs, billboards or flyers advertising commercial wildlife services or operations;

Regular "Open for business" hours;

o Written business is conducted on printed letterhead, indicating the name of the company or business;

o Documented exhibition of wildlife to the public, with or without a charge, of no less that 12 times per year; typo: than 12 times

o Sale of wildlife including any lesser acts thereof as defined in Rule 68A-1.004, F.A.C.

* Paragraph (1) is renumbered as (2); and paragraph (2) is renumbered as (3).



68A-9.006 Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit


* Delete reference to "joint" permit and update language to accurately reflect federal permit requirement when rehabilitating migratory birds.

* Reflect correct application title and delete "incorporated by reference" to allow for standardization of agency permit applications without necessitating a rule change.

* Update the reference of no rehabilitation permit required for rehabilitation on non-native species, to include Class III, venomous reptiles and reptiles of concern.

* Provide that exotic or non-native wildlife may not be comingled with native wildlife possessed for rehabilitation purposes.

* Provide that wildlife may be held no longer than 180 days before it must be released, transferred or euthanized.

* Allow that the 180-day requirement may be extended in instances where a licensed veterinarian has certified that a longer holding period is necessary in the interest of the health and welfare of the wildlife. In all instances where the text says licensed veterinarian, it should read “a veterinarian licensed in Florida.”

o Require medical records in these instances to be maintained at the facility and made available for inspection upon request.

* Require evaluation by an independent rehabilitator or veterinarian before physically impaired wildlife is diagnosed as unreleasable.


68A-6.0025 Sanctuaries; Retired Performing Wildlife and Identification (New proposed rule) As long as sanctuaries are still required to carry the USDA permit and the $10,000 bond, this would be a nice way for the public to easily discern a true sanctuary from a profit making or self serving entity. The permanent identification*, record keeping and submission of such records should apply to all entities in possession of regulated wildlife. *other than those animals being returned to the wild.


* Defines captive wildlife sanctuaries as a facility established solely for the purpose of providing lifetime care for unwanted or infirmed wildlife.

* Requires sanctuaries to be licensed per 372.921 and not for profit corporation status as described in 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

* Prohibits acts which perpetuate the commercial trade in captive wildlife including the trade, sale, offering for trade or sale, breeding, or buying of captive wildlife or parts thereof. One way that pseudo sanctuaries perpetuate the commercial trade in captive wildlife is by providing a dumping ground for those who breed, use and discard. In many cases pseudo sanctuaries are opposing regulation that ends the trade in exotic animals because if there were no animals to rescue, there would be no need for them to exist. Legitimate sanctuaries will contract with those disposing of wildlife to have them surrender their licenses and/or agree to stop breeding, selling, buying and trading. Big Cat Rescue’s goal is that one day soon there will no longer be a trade in exotic cats and thus no need of rescue facilities.

* Prohibits full or incidental contact as defined in Rule 68A-6.0023 (3)(a)2.- 3., F.A.C., between the public and such wildlife.

* Requires permanent identification, recordkeeping of such identification and submission of such identification records to FWC.

* Allows persons licensed per 372.921, F.S., to maintain performing wildlife which due to age or physical condition may no longer perform, for the purposes of providing lifetime care.

o Requires permanent identification, recordkeeping and submission of such records as required for wildlife maintained by a captive wildlife sanctuary.


68A-6.0071 Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements.


* The Captive Wildlife Inventory-Reptile form, FWCDLE_620IV-R (12-06), will be reviewed to determine if modifications are necessary. Should modifications be made the date (12-06) will be changed to reflect the modified date.

* No additional changes are anticipated for this rule.


See the entire language of the proposed rules here: http://myfwc.com/captive/CaptiveChanges_08.htm


The public comment workshops were June 9-13 with only a dozen or so attendees at each meeting.


These are issues that Big Cat Rescue believes should be included in this rule making period but are not in bold so that it is easier to read online:


Contact was addressed, but not sufficiently. It goes without saying that the public should not be allowed contact with Class I animals, but allowing contact with Class I cats under 25 pounds just creates a tremendous demand for babies that are being discarded or killed when they exceed the weight limit. There is absolutely no reason to encourage this unconscionable practice and ending it would largely end the trafficking in big cats. A federal bill, Haley’s Act HR 1947 is expected to pass this year that bans public contact with big cats and their babies and Florida shouldn’t be drafting rules that will conflict with federal law. Florida’s Congresswoman, Kathy Castor and Congressman Vern Buchanan are co-sponsors of Haley’s Act and when similar bills have passed in Congress they have been unanimous. This is the most important rule change that the FWC can implement to stop the abuse that is the subject of so many of the complaints by both Floridians and visitors. Find out more about big cats bred in Florida who are used, abused and discarded at Dying To Be Held.


All exotic cats should be re-classified as Class I due to their ability to inflict severe injury and the potential for environmental damage should they be released into US eco systems, where only bobcats, cougars and the occasional jaguar are known to live.


Definition of “the public.” Too many places charge a fee for people to be a volunteer for a day so that they can circumvent the prohibitions on coming into close contact with Class I wildlife. The way we deal with that at Big Cat Rescue is to require minimum hours per week, to be logged into a computerized data system. A person has to consistently log 8 hours volunteer time per week and have been a volunteer for 18 months (and a whole lot of classes, training, etc.) before they are allowed to be anywhere near a Class I cat and even then are not allowed any direct contact.


One of the issues that came out in public workshops on the Sanctuary issue was that it is ridiculous to allow an entity to call themselves both a sanctuary and a breeder/dealer by holding one of each license, regardless of the closeness of proximity between one operation and the other. You are either a sanctuary, which is a place that rescues animals from exploitation or you are exploiting them. It’s that simple. Having the FWC bless an operation with their interpretation of the term “sanctuary” when the underlying entities in charge are, at the same time adding to the problem serves only to help mislead the public. Using the requirements set out at www.SanctuaryStandards.com would truly set sanctuaries apart from zoos, breeders, dealers, circuses and such.


Last, but again one of the most important rule changes the FWC can make is to allow cities, counties and municipalities to enact their own, MORE RESTRICTIVE measures to protect their citizens and to improve their image in the public eye as being forward thinking when it comes to protecting animals from the abuses associated with breeding and keeping wild animals in cages.




I applaud the FWC for their efforts and look forward to the successful implementation and enforcement of better rules to protect the animals and the public.


For the cats,


Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue


12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625 813.920.4130 Info@BigCatRescue.org


********************************************************************************************


Comments on eating lion meat:


by Samdyn Jul 8, 2008 5:57 PM

This is utterly disgusting. How can you enjoy eating meat that came from canned hunts? I will never go to this or any other restaurant serving such animals as 'food'. I'd like to know how you think GOURGEOUS animals, such as lions can be eaten.


by Michelle Jul 8, 2008 5:55 PM

Thanks Tamara for the descriptive account of such gluttony. What's the difference between their flesh and the flesh of a beloved cat or dog? Would you "close your eyes and dig in" if the flesh and bone on your plate were human?


by donna Jul 8, 2008 5:53 PM

So sad that our society has lost it's conscience. How do you say you love animals, (your dog, cat), and then pay to have others, (cows, pigs, lions, WHATEVER!) live a tortured life and suffer brutal slaughter for this. The environmental impact- - -


by Michael Jul 8, 2008 5:53 PM

Absolutely disgustingly sad...the human race has truly hit bottom...how shameful


by Colleen Jul 8, 2008 5:33 PM

Sick is the man who must pillage the whole earth to satify one mans gluttoney.With earth in crisis you see fit to praise the arrogant waste of resources used to bring beutiful creatures across continents for greedy stomachs.Disgusting, Tamara.THINK!


by Terry Jul 7, 2008 8:04 PM

What a sad commentary on life that we have to resort to this kind of sensationalism! For many years my family visited Dunedin and I am sorry it made the news for something like this!


by Sandy Jul 7, 2008 7:55 PM

I am totally sickened after reading what passes for journalism at the SP Times these days. I guess we're all lucky that your boss didn't send you to eat kittens, Tamara, since it's obvious you would have. You should be ashamed, but probably aren't.


by Carole Jul 7, 2008 7:21 PM

This sensationalism only demeans the value of life. It is obvious that most decent people are appalled that this can happen here. Ask Florida's Wildlife Commission to do something about it here: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/video/00210.htm


by Diane Jul 7, 2008 7:10 PM

Words can not say how sickened I was when reading this. I believe this restaurant has nothing to be proud of. This is one restaurant the lovely town on Dunedin should be ashamed of. People indeed will eat anything. Yuck!


by Cara Campbell Jul 7, 2008 6:45 PM

"Farm raised" lion? What a revolting thought. How low can human beings go? Maybe the reporter's next culinary adventure could be humans. After all, there are more of us and we're not endangered. This was beyond the pale.


by Tara Jul 7, 2008 6:34 PM

What's going on here? What's wrong w/this story: The St. Pete Times choosing to recycle itself and its reporters into cheap publicity writers-marketers? How much $$ did this item earn you? Where is your journalistic integrity? All Sold Out?


by Pat Jul 7, 2008 5:50 PM

I contacted South Africa's Campaign Against Canned Hunting. They confirmed the lion meat can only have come from the canned hunt industry, where lions are raised to be killed - for a fee - by tourists. Check out http://www.cannedlion.co.za


by Darlynn Jul 7, 2008 5:34 PM

It's just great you're thrilled with eating other beings. I personally can't wait til we start raising people for food. It will give the phrase "She was a great piece of a**" new meaning. Too bad humanity has become oblivious to everything not them.


by Diane Jul 7, 2008 5:26 PM

This is disgusting. Everything reported in this story was disgusting. The decadence of all. Unbelievable. I am sorry for the writer whose past vegetarian diet has been changed for this! In hope no lion will ever report on human flesh taste. Shame


by Holly Jul 7, 2008 5:26 PM

This is beyond irresponsible with fuel costs,food crisis going on across the globe. The cocky,proud attitude this restaurant&its sampler are disturbing,crude&selfish to say the least.God's majestic creatures reduced to ribs on some idiots plate.


by JimBob Jul 7, 2008 5:24 PM

Aren't African Lions endangered???


by John Jul 7, 2008 5:17 PM

I'm an ex-vegetarian who is now an omnivore who eats a little meat now and then. But the notion of eating lions, such grand animals barely surviving humanity's onslaught, truly sickens and angers and repulses me.


by susan Jul 7, 2008 5:11 PM

Perhaps they haven't seen the UN or Pew reports that say the eating meat is unsustainable. Eating lions? So sad that anyone would pay to do something so irresponsible.


by KIM Jul 7, 2008 4:57 PM

I PERSONALLY THINK THE IDEA OF EATING ANY OF THESES ANIMALS IS OUTRAGEOUS.HOWEVER GO TO OTHER COUNTRIES &ASK THEM ABOUT EATING COWS PIG CHICKENS & THEY PROBABLY THINK THE SAME . ITS A FREE COUNTRY & AS LONG AS PEOPLE PAY FOR IT THEY WILL SERVE IT


by Nikki Jul 7, 2008 11:59 AM

In times of INSANE resource scarcity and sky-rocketing fuel costs, SHIPPING WILD ANIMAL MEAT ACROSS THE GLOBE is irresponsible at best. We're faced with environmental crises of epic proportions - OPEN YOUR EYES! Eating meat period must stop.


by Carol Sackman July 8, 2008 to Editor (but they didn't publish)

DO YOU REALLY WANT WANT TO EAT LION?

The needless killing of lions that culminated on the dinner table of Spotos in Dunedin can only be topped by the insensitivity of the St Pete times reporter who gleefully feasted on this exotic animal & described every bite in such demented detail. I am "the reader" who alerted the St Pete times to this atrocity & I emailed a picture of Spotos sign, which advertised the special as African Lion. I was assured by the person I spoke to (Nova) that the paper would take note of this, & that she was as upset as I was. She said someone would call me the next day- but no one called. My intention in calling was to make readers aware that Spotos restaurant is serving exotic animals that much time & effort is put into protecting. However, it is disappointing that the St. Pete Times pays so little attention to a highly emotional issue that is brought to their attention by readers & turns it into a food review! Who paid for this meal? It appears that some free advertising came Spotos way, this became a food review rather than an informative article on exotic animals not usually found on a civilized menu.


by Lisa Shaw July 8, 2008 to Reporter and Editor (but they didn't publish)

Hello Ms. El-Khoury,

With regard to your review of Spoto's in Dunedin in both the St. Petersburg Times and TBT. I cannot tell which I am more dismayed at, the glowing review written about a restaurant that offered up wild game or the fact that it was to scintillate a population that is so out of touch with the world around them that eating lions, kangaroos, and the like is 'the fun and "in" thing to do.' With all the restaurants in this area, the fact that this menu was chosen to sample and review is disheartening to say the least.



While Chef Stewart is correct to a point, the lion you were eating was farm raised; however, did you know that it was farm raised for canned hunts in South Africa? If you are unfamiliar with canned hunts, that are legal in Florida, please check out this link - http://www.bigcatrescue.org/cannedhunt.htm.



Additionally, please read an email from Chris Mercer, Director of South Africa's Campaign Against Canned Hunting that was sent to a friend of mine as a response to the article. The article, by extension, is a promotion of this horrific, blood sport. Perhaps you and your editorial staff may want to contact Mr. Mercer and obtain a copy of the video he refers to and see where your 'lion chop' came from. Your readers may be interested in the full story. I even encourage you to explore the 'farms' the other animals were raised from as well.



Date: Mon, 07 Jul 2008 10:47:56 +0200

Subject: Re: Info on lions being raised for their meat?


You are quite correct that such lion meat can only have come from the

canned lion hunting industry in South Africa. All captive lion

breeders in SA sell their progeny for hunting because it is not only

the only market for them, but a very lucrative one. And they are

always looking for 'add-ons' whereby they can commercially exploit

another aspect of canned lion breeding. The current one is cub-

petting, whereby the cute and cuddly stage is exploited before the

animal is old enough to be hunted. In this way they can externalise

the cost of rearing the victim. And now lion meat is being marketed

to make canned lion breeding ever more profitable.


We have video footage of canned lion hunts in SA and they are part of

an audio-visual presentation on DVD which details the cruelty, and

offers insight into how and why canned hunting is so big in SA. It

seems to us that we really need to expose the link between this type

f restaurant and the horrific cruelty at every stage of the lions

lives once caught up in this awful industry. Let us try to turn this

report to advantage, and to use it to raise public awareness in

Florida/USA so that ethical customers will know to boycott such

restaurants. Ideally there should be protests outside the restaurant

to attract publicity.


Kind regards


Chris.


Chris Mercer

Campaign against Canned Hunting

www.cannedlion.co.za

PO Box 356 Wilderness

6560 South Africa



You may also want to check out www.cites.org (http://www.cites.org/eng/resources/species.html) and see the protections that lions, and any other animal is protected under. I am guessing by having the canned hunt kills sent to Colorado may side step this protection.



I hope that a little more research may be done on any future 'wild' meat, or domestic for that matter, that the St. Petersburg Times and or TBT chooses to review.



Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Lisa Shaw





Legislation cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless.



The pages behind the banner below make it easy for you to see what bills are currently being considered at both the Federal and State level. Then, by entering your zip code, the software allows you to easily send an email either to the legislators from your district or to those on the Committee considering the bill.







Please note that when you click the Legislation tab the Federal
bills appear. There is a toggle link at the top right that will take you
to the State bills.


The power here is in numbers. By having many people email their
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to time. And most important, please tell others about this easy way to be
heard and help pass these bills!



Visit these pages for more information:



Animal Welfare Laws


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See an interactive online map of exotic cat owners.



Why we need better laws:


Animal Abusers


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Maulings, killings and escapes


Slideshow of what captivity means to the animal


Inadequate laws


The American Bar Association has an Animal Law Committee. Visit it HERE.


If you have any questions about the legislative pages please feel free to email us at Carole Baskin MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Strengthen Rules For Captive Wildlife

Strengthen Rules For Captive Wildlife

By JENNIFER HOBGOOD

The Tampa Tribune

Published: September 10, 2008

With a series of storms potentially battering Florida, advances made since Hurricane Katrina to provide safe shelter for pets are evident. But what if the pet is a monkey or the animals housed in a neighborhood are lions and tigers?

In August, a lion and tiger escaped from their cages at a Palm Beach County exotic animal facility - possibly due to Tropical Storm Fay. They were recaptured and fortunately no one was hurt. But there's no telling what might have happened with these powerful predators on the prowl. Since 2001, 11 people have been killed in the United States by captive big cats - more than one person per year.

When Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami in 1992, thousands of animals got loose out of research centers and exotic animal breeding facilities, from monkeys to lizards. Many were still at large 10 years later, with indeterminate impacts on the environment.

No precise figure is available for how many wild animals are kept in private hands in the United States, but estimates include 15,000 primates and about as many big cats. Accredited zoos and responsible sanctuaries house only a small share of these animals. The rest often live in deplorable conditions in roadside exhibits, traveling shows, pseudo-sanctuaries, basements and backyards.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will consider captive wildlife issues at its Sept. 17 meeting. The Humane Society of the United States strongly supports the changes being proposed, but they don't go far enough.

For instance, Florida already prohibits lions, tigers and leopards as pets, and we agree with the proposal to add cheetahs and panthers to the list. Similarly, Florida prohibits some primates such as chimpanzees as pets. But the state allows other primates such as monkeys, despite the risks. At least 20 states prohibit primates as pets, and Florida should join them.

The FWC also is proposing requirements for wildlife sanctuaries, closing a regulatory loophole. The commission already issues permits for commercial operations that keep dangerous wild animals, but does not have a permit system for true sanctuaries, which do not exhibit, breed, buy or sell animals.

The proposed rules include an important provision to prohibit public contact with wildlife at sanctuaries. The ban on public contact should be extended to exhibitors as well. Allowing contact such as photo opportunities with tiger cubs creates a market for cubs, who have no place to go when they grow too large and aggressive to handle. Animals who would cover a 100-mile range in the wild instead spend their lives pacing in cramped cages, ticking time bombs in our communities.

The FWC is grappling with a multitude of other problems from the green iguanas invading South Florida to keeping dangerous wild animals out of residential neighborhoods. More information and an opportunity to comment are available at humanesociety.org/floridaexotics.

First responders to natural disasters have enough to do without having to deal with wild animals kept in untrained hands. To protect both public safety and animal welfare, wild animals should not be pets. They belong in the wild.

Jennifer Hobgood, Ph.D., is Florida director for the Humane Society of the United States.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/sep/10/na-strengthen-rules-for-captive-wildlife/

--
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

http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above. You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Fwd: Urge stronger protections for Florida's wild animals


From: Humane Society of the United States <humanesociety@hsus.org>
Date: Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 3:52 PM
Subject: Urge stronger protections for Florida's wild animals
To: Carole Baskin <makeadifference@bigcatrescue.org>


Trouble with links or images? Want to share this email? Use this link:
https://community.hsus.org/humane/notice-description.tcl?newsletter_id=27262967

Speak Up for Florida's Wildlife

September 3, 2008

Speak Up for Florida's Wild Animals

Dear Carole,

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is considering several changes to the state's wildlife regulations that would affect freshwater turtles and captive wildlife. While these changes would be a step in the right direction, they are still not strong enough. Please urge the Commission to consider stronger changes to the rules.

Currently, the FWC is considering protections for Florida's freshwater turtles by limiting the harvest to five per day. However, anything less than a complete moratorium on the commercial harvest could result in serious damage to some species. The Commission is also proposing beneficial changes to the current rules on keeping wild animals in captivity. But, the Commission needs to enact additional protections to ensure that these animals are kept in the wild, not in basements and backyards!

TAKE ACTION
The FWC will discuss these issues on September 17. Please take a moment now to send an email to the FWC to urge the strongest changes possible to these wildlife regulations. And don't forget to tell your friends and family in Florida about how they can take action, too.

Thank you for all you do for animals!

Sincerely,

Mike Markarian
Executive Vice President
The Humane Society of the United States

P.S. We are closely watching Tropical Storm Hanna. Forecasters are predicting it could land anywhere between Florida and the Carolinas later this week. The Humane Society of the United States is urging residents who may be in the path of the storm to gather supplies and review their animal evacuation plans. Read more on how you can be prepared.

Copyright © 2008 The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) | All Rights Reserved.
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--
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

http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above. You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.