Op-Ed: Bill Signed After Animals Killed in Ohio is InsufficientPublished October 24, 2011
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In response to the 49 exotic animals killed in Ohio last week, Ohio Governor John Kasich held a press conference on Friday October 21 where he issued a new emergency executive order. The executive order, issued to health agencies, local officials and local humane societies, called for more aggressive action in enforcing the already existing animal cruelty laws in place in Ohio since 1953.
Kasich, who is under fire for allowing former Governor Strickland's executive order (which would have likely prevented this tragedy) expire, was quick to defend himself in responding to questions as to why he did not renew the former governor's order. Kasich says he is now taking steps to solve an existing problem that should have been handled a long time before he assumed office.
Governor Kasich's solution is this newly proposed bill, which is to be written by November 30. The new bill will work to regulate dangerous animals not native to Ohio. Unauthorized animal auction houses will be shut down, wild animal auctions will be restricted and permits of animals native to Ohio that are considered dangerous will be reviewed by state officials. The State will work closely with zoos to care for confiscated or impounded wild animals.
“Fortunately today I am able to sign an executive order that will have teeth, that is founded in the law and gives power to people," said Governor Kasich.
“Have teeth”? This writer wonders if Governor Kasich realizes the irony of his words.
As of now, Ohio has no existing laws prohibiting individuals without licenses and permits to own exotic animals. Therefore, in this writer's opinion, Governor Kasich's executive order lacks essential "teeth" and misses the farther-reaching global implications; why would anyone want to keep exotic animals in their homes on their property, and what are the reasons for allowing it?
While the Zoological Association of America and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium supported Kasich's executive order, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of Humane Society of the United States, seemed to be in agreement with others who felt like I did about this new order.
"The emergency order [Kasich] signed today is inadequate and sidesteps the central problems created by the exotic animal trade in Ohio," Pacelle said. "No private citizens should keep big cats, bears or primates as pets or as roadside attractions.”
Ohio must quickly pass strict laws which prevent exploitation of exotic wild animals and ensure that these animals are handled and kept only by those individuals whose sole purpose is to preserve and protect them.
Tiger and lion cubs are fuzzy and adorable. However, shopping malls must be stop condoning exotic animal exploitation by renting space to petting zoos offering the opportunity to pose with baby lions and tigers to turn a profit. They could care less about the welfare of these animals.
Get involved by participating in Big Cat Rescue’s recent Animal Action Alert.
What are your thoughts about Governor Kasich’s executive order? Share them in a comment.