Improving Safety at Exotic Animal Facilities

Improving Safety at Exotic Animal Facilities

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Coming into close contact with wild animals, even in what appears to be a controlled situation, can be dangerous. Many people visit animal facilities to get a one-of-a-kind and up-close experience with a tiger or lion cub. However, this can pose a threat to the animals and humans involved.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, the greatest risk of fatal attacks and injuries in the U.S. from exotic animals occurs within unaccredited facilities such as roadside zoos, traveling zoos and pseudo-sanctuaries.

House Enrolled Act 1248 prohibits owners of certain animals – specifically exotic big cats and bears – from allowing the public to come into direct contact or proximity to them. This will discontinue the practice of "cub petting," where the public holds and takes photos with baby animals. Examples of these animals include lions, tigers, leopards, snow leopards, jaguars, mountain lions and bears.

The law requires a person that owns an exotic animal to have a commercial animal dealer, breeder or exhibitor's license issued by the United States Department of Agriculture.

HEA 1248 is essential to promote responsible ownership of exotic animals and eliminate possible dangerous situations concerning animal welfare and public safety.

To read more about HEA 1248 and other laws passed this session, click here.