U.S. Newswire is reporting from San Franciso about more Wild Animal Escapes and the subsequent fatal shooting of two chimpanzees from "a so-called sanctuary." Chimpanzees also can carry many diseases including yellow fever, monkey pox, Ebola and Marburg virus, Foot and Mouth Disease, tuberculosis, herpes-b, and Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV); the primate form of HIV. These are following other recent tragic and preventable incident involving privately owned wild animals. Similar incidents are occurring at an alarming rate across the country.
"Last year, we rescued 39 tigers from another phony sanctuary. The man running it was convicted on 56 counts of animal cruelty and child endangerment. These places aren't sanctuaries, and it's time the government be held accountable for endangering animals and the public." Pat Derby, Director Performing Animal Welfare Society
The Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition (CWAPC), representing more than 20 leading animal protection organizations, zoos and sanctuaries, believes keeping wild animals as pets is dangerous for people and inhumane for animals and warns that the rate of human injury and death from privately owned wild animals is increasing.
"This is what happens when there are no legally enforced sanctuary standards, and people are allowed to keep a collection of wild animals on their property and call it a "sanctuary." Both allowing people into the chimps' enclosure and working without safe capture devices was irresponsible and not in keeping with the running of a legitimate sanctuary." Vernon Weir, Executive Director ASA.
Though the Captive Wild Animal Safety Act - passed in December 2003 - provides a federally-mandated definition of an "animal sanctuary," there are still no enforceable regulations for sanctuary standards. As a result, places like Animal Haven - and thousands of other facilities masquerading as sanctuaries in the U.S. - can call themselves sanctuaries without meeting enforceable standards to protect the animals and public.
Without legally enforceable standards of care, there is no way to distinguish between animal collectors, private owners and legitimate animal rescue organizations.
"Under current laws, it is too easy for a private citizen to have a backyard collection of wild animals and call it a "sanctuary." TAOS, in collaboration with CWAPC, is working to establish sanctuary standards so that incidents like this one don't continue to happen." Eileen McCarthy, Executive Director, The Association of Sanctuaries
CWAPC is calling for the enforcement of the legal definition of an "animal sanctuary" and the establishment of peer-reviewed sanctuary standards, their adoption and enforcement as the legal industry standards.
Karen on 03.07.05 @ 05:35 AM CST