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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 6, 2021 09:19 AM
From: Representative Melissa L. Shusterman
To: All House members
Subject: Exotic Wildlife Ownership
Today, only 4,000 tigers remain in the wild. There are an estimated 10,000 held in captivity in the United States, less than 350 of which are managed by trusted organizations. Without the standards and care that are employed by trusted organizations, many tigers are subjected to unregulated and unethical practices. 
As depicted in the 2020 documentary Tiger King, exotic animal ownership in the United States is far more focused on its entertainment value and profit than it is on the proper care of nonindigenous animals. Tiger cubs used in tourist attractions often sell for up to $2,000, and many are sold to the general public because they are popular and do not pose much of a safety risk.
Unfortunately, a cycle of exploitation begins early when the animals provide the most financial value and continues through breeding and crossbreeding as they age, finally ending with the unethical euthanization and disposal of aged and no longer profitable animals. This paints a grim picture of the captivity and treatment of many of the nonindigenous exotic animals found throughout our country.
To address this problem, I plan to introduce legislation that would prohibit the issuance of licenses for the possession of exotic wildlife by the general public. This would include measures to protect all nonindigenous animals, as well as dangerous native wildlife. In addition, it would add new requirements for wildlife dealers and menageries, with some exceptions for zoos, wildlife parks, and wildlife sanctuaries, all aimed at ending the cruelty and danger of unregulated wildlife ownership. 
Please join me in support of this important legislation.

Introduced as HB201