Would you support 'Haley's Act'?
In 2005 Haley Hilderbrand was killed by a 550 pound Siberean Tiger. Haley was 17 years old.
She was having her picture taken with this well behaved tiger. Or so they thought.
While visting the Lost Creek Animal Sanctuary Haley was having her picture taken with the tiger, just as many high school senior have done in her area for years. The Lost Creek Animal Sancturary did this despite of current USDA regulations that require exhibitors of big cats to keep adequate distance or barriers between the animals and the viewing public.
The sancturary had the tiger restrained by a leash held by a trainer. Pound for pound tigers are 12 times stronger then man, a leash held by man is grossly inadeaquete.
Haley's Act would specifically prohibit direct contact between big cats and members of the public.
Also, it would raise the fee for violating the Animal Welfare Act from $2,500 - $10,000.
Some say these fines and regulations will put many out of business. Some call it unconstitutional because it only allows zoos acredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association to display large baby cats under 16 weeks of age, thus allowing for a monopoly. Others say this is just sensationalism, since there have only been 17 deaths caused by large cats since 1990 (1 per year). They say the educational benefits to children far outweigh these deaths. They argue that the CDC reports that in 2003 53,500 deaths were caused to those between the ages of 0-19 by toys, pools, cars, bicycles, boating, sports, etc., yet there is no fedral law against these.
Surprisingly, the Feline Conservation Federation is also not supporting this bill. Instead they are supporting a budget increase for the USDA so manpower can be increased to properly inspect facilities and place proper punishment. Lynn Culver, the president of FCF, has stated that she believes "it is the ability to touch such incredibly beautiful and intelligent young felines that fills our hearts with love for nature and motivates us to value and protect it."
However, a budget increase for the USDA does not mean it will all be applied to Animal Welfare, and certainly not directly for big cat facilities, as the USDA has many departments.
What do you think?
Here is a link that might be useful: Support Haley's Act