Read the original article by Emily Lawler at mlive.com here.
Breeding large carnivores would no longer be illegal in Michigan under legislation introduced in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
House Bill 5778, introduced by Rep. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, puts in place a licensing process for people who want to breed large carnivores in Michigan. Such breeding was outlawed in 2000.
“This important legislation promotes the health and safety of animals and creates high standards for conservation breeding programs in Michigan,” Albert said in a press release.
“Given the enormous excitement over the new female polar bear at the Detroit Zoo and all of the press in recent months, it’s time that we update our laws so the breeding of large carnivores is no longer illegal in Michigan.”
To qualify for a license, somebody breeding large carnivores would need to be part of a business focused on presenting large carnivores to the public for educational purposes, meet standards for the care of animals, not been the subject of a rebuke from the United States Department of Agriculture and does not sell large carnivores except to other licensed individuals.
The bill requires those breeding large carnivores to apply through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The application would go to a newly-created Large Carnivore Breeding Advisory Committee, and within 90 days the department would make a decision on it after taking the committee’s recommendations into account.
Those engaging of breeding would have to meet certain standards, including ensuring the animal’s environment is clear from clutter, having written emergency protocols for injuries caused by large carnivores, housing the animal in an appropriate temperature for its native habitat, having a succession plan for the possession of the animal and creating a trained firearms team if law enforcement is not within a “reasonable distance.”
The legislation is supported by the John Ball Zoo, which put out a press release on Tuesday.
“Conservation breeding programs ensure the preservation of endangered species and large carnivores including tigers, bears and lions. We urge the House to approve this legislation to provide a strong regulatory framework that promotes the responsible breeding of large carnivores in the state,” said Peter D’Arienzo, John Ball Zoo CEO.
“Changes in the new legislation will ensure high quality animal care and improve public safety. This framework will also provide high standards modeled on best practices, federal regulations and standards provided by leading accredited organizations.”
The John Ball Zoo relocated its tigers, which are valuable to species survival breeding, to out-of-state zoos in 2017, since they could not be legally bred in Michigan.
The bill has been referred to the House Agriculture Committee. It would need to pass the full House, pass the full Senate and be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder to become law.