(Washington, DC – April 1, 2013) – This past Friday, the Detroit Tigers organization posted photos on its Facebook page of its star players handling a tiger cub at a spring training camp.
Tracy Coppola, Campaigns Officer, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW; www.ifaw.org), issued the following statement regarding the event:
“Undoubtedly, the Detroit Tigers, like so many other animal enthusiasts in the U.S., did not realize the photo op presented some fairly significant public safety and animal welfare issues.
Handling a wild big cat is not a game and treating them like a ‘pet’ poses extreme risks. In the past two decades, U.S. incidents involving captive big cats—tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs and other species—have resulted in the deaths of 22 humans and nearly 300 human injuries.
Additionally, dozens of U.S. traveling zoos and roadside exhibitors—like the Dade City's Wild Things Zoo, which was responsible for providing the cub for the photo op—profit from charging the public a fee to pet and pose with tiger cubs and other large big cats. After the cubs grow too big and dangerous for handling, all too often they could be kept in someone's backyard; bred incessantly to further fuel the cub handling trade, or even be killed.
This is why passing the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act—a nationwide ban on private big cat ownership and breeding that will soon be reintroduced in Congress—is so important.
As opening day kicks off, millions of fans from all over the nation will flock to stadiums to cheer on their favorite baseball heroes. Many of these fans are children who look up to the athletes as role models and emulate their behaviors. The Detroit Tigers now have an opportunity to use their mascot and national voice to educate people about the dangers of big cat ownership and pledge that they will, in the future, choose not to pose with tiger cubs because they would never knowingly want to support an industry that thrives off the exploitation of this species.”
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Jarod Miller is a young naturalist, zoologist, television host and producer, with 20 years of experience working with animals, and 15 years of experience in television. Miller has spoken at venues ranging from wildlife parks and universities, all the way to the White House. He is also the former executive director of the Binghamton Zoo, and was the youngest accredited zoo director in the United States at age 25.
Since he was 10, Miller has both propagated and worked to conserve endangered animal species. He has raised, studied and handled a tremendous variety of wildlife including large cats, bears, prosimians, large and small primates, birds of prey, crocodiles, venomous snakes and reptiles, and large hoofed animals, among many others. He is also experienced in the research and data collection of captive and wild specimens. As a teenager he also trained champion dogs for obedience competitions and national showmanship.
As a child Miller spent most of his time outdoors, always wanting to be closer to nature. Zoos were always his favorite destination, and he could identify every animal that lived at the zoo. In fact, when asked to write down his favorite animal for a second grade assignment, he came up with a three-page list of nearly 200 species.
Miller earned a degree in Zoology from Oswego State University in New York, and has published and presented research on primate behavior and ecology within the scientific community. He is a professional fellow of the American Zoo Association, an associate member of Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, and a member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
In 1996, Miller started his own wildlife production and education company, Wild Encounters, and has since traveled to over 13 countries, focusing on areas in South America, Central America and Equatorial Africa.
In the past decade, Miller has made hundreds of appearances on national television, as a regular guest on such shows as, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Rachael Ray, Live with Regis and Kelly, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, among many others, and is a regular contributor for NBC News, CNN, and Fox News.
(SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) November 2, 2011—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has called on governors in seven states with lax laws to adopt stricter regulations restricting the private ownership of wild animals that pose a significant risk to animal and public health.
On Oct. 18, the owner of an unregulated wildlife reserve in Ohio freed dozens of wild animals before killing himself. Forty-eight animals were killed by the sheriff’s department.
Idaho, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Nevada, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have been identified as having lax regulations on the ownership of wild animals. Governors in all seven states received a letter from the AVMA urging stricter control and offering expert assistance from the AVMA in crafting effective regulations.
“Unfortunately, Ohio isn’t alone. Many other states and even local governments don’t pay enough attention to the consequences of vaguely worded regulations, and only realize the risk after safety or public health is compromised,” says Dr. René A. Carlson, president of the AVMA. “The AVMA has contacted the governors of these states to urge them to take necessary action to strengthen regulations protecting wild animals and public health in the hopes of averting another tragedy. Fortunately, the work to strengthen state controls on private ownership has already begun in Ohio.”
Since 2006, the AVMA has urged lawmakers to limit or prohibit private ownership of wild animals that pose a significant risk to public health, domestic animal health, or the ecosystem (including the health of indigenous wild species), as well private ownership of wild species whose welfare is unacceptably compromised by being kept under such conditions. The AVMA’s policy on private ownership of wild animals can be found at http://www.avma.org/issues/policy/wild_animal_ownership.asp. To view the letters click here: http://www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/OwnershipWildAnimals.asp.
For more information, please visit www.avma.org.
The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. More than 81,500 member veterinarians worldwide are engaged in a wide variety of professional activities. The year 2011 is being celebrated by veterinarians around the world as Vet2011, the 250th anniversary of the birth of veterinary medicine and education.
NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is calling on Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to immediately issue an emergency order restricting the sale and possession of exotic animals following the horrific incident today in which dozens of animals were killed after escaping from a Zanesville, Ohio, property. Ohio is currently one of only eight states that do not regulate private ownership of exotic animals.
“We urge Gov. Kasich to issue an emergency order to ensure the safety of Ohio residents, as well as the health and well-being of exotic animals kept as pets,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “This tragic incident may well have been avoided had the previous emergency order issued by former Gov. Ted Strickland not been permitted to expire in April.”
Perry added, “While the animals pay the ultimate price, local governments and taxpayers are left to bear the enormous fiscal burden when dangerous wild animals are set loose or escape, or when they are seized due to neglect.”
The exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry that contributes to the suffering of millions of animals, often threatening public health and safety, disrupting ecosystems and driving species to endangerment and extinction. Each year across the nation, countless numbers of exotic animals are purchased as pets at retail stores and from private breeders and dealers at auctions or over the Internet. Since the vast majority of people who keep exotic animals cannot meet their needs, the animals often become the victims of abuse and neglect—they are caged, chained, tranquilized or even beaten into submission.
For more information about the exotic pet trade, please visit www.aspca.org.
Media Contact: Rebecca Goldrick, 646-291-4582, RebeccaG@ aspca.org
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animal welfare. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501 [c]  not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org.
Exotic Animal Incidents Online Database Highlights National Epidemic - - Resource for the Media
Washington D.C., October 19, 2011 - - Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation - - and a force in working to keep wildlife in the wild - - says the incident in Ohio yesterday is devastating for the animals and the public. This morning police are still trying to chase down dozens of frightened and confused wild animals including bears, wolves and tigers, who have escaped from a “private preserve” in Zanesville, Ohio.
According to Will Travers, Born Free USA’s CEO who is in the U.S. this week from the U.K. on a speaking tour, said this morning, “Born Free fears for everyone’s safety in Ohio and wants this horrific situation to serve as a brutal reminder that wildlife belong in the wild and that no one should ever put the animals or the public at risk by trying to confine them in a zoo, circus, backyard, or home where serious injury or death, can occur at any time. Laws have to be created and enforced to stop these potential situations at the source. No one should be allowed ever to ‘own’ a wild animal. Period.”
Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, tracks such incidents through its online database designed as a resource for the media, lawmakers, activists and the public, to help shed light on the magnitude of the issue.
The database lists more than 1,598 attacks and incidents reported that have occurred since 1990, searchable by state, species, and key word, and includes a map graphic marking each location -- a shocking visual to illustrate how geographically widespread the problem is.
Every year, captive exotic animals -- kept in zoos, circuses, or as private “pets” -- are involved in incidents that result in human injury or death. Keeping any wild animal in captivity is inherently cruel, as it deprives them of the ability to freely engage in instinctual behaviors in their natural environment.
Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.
# # #