Laws banning possession of harmful wild animals failed in 2017 and in 2019, nevertheless it’s again this session, and has a brand new nickname — the “Tiger King” invoice.
The Netflix collection of the identical title garnered viral success in portraying the lifetime of Joe Unique, an enormous cat collector primarily based in Oklahoma who was convicted of killing 5 tigers and promoting and trafficking different wild animal species.
“Though it wasn’t the present’s intent, it did elevate consciousness concerning the plight of captive massive cats and expose the hidden struggling related to a apply referred to as cub petting,” Jeff Dixon, Nevada state director for the Humane Society, stated throughout a Thursday listening to of the invoice. “It additionally highlighted why SB344 is the least that Nevada can do to assist deal with this challenge.”
The invoice, SB344, is sponsored by Sen. James Ohrenschall (D-Las Vegas) and would prohibit an individual from importing, possessing, promoting, transferring or breeding harmful wild animals — a classification that features elephants, non-human primates, bears, tigers and different massive cats. Sure teams could be exempt from the ban, although, akin to licensed veterinarians, legislation enforcement, animal management, the Division of Wildlife and entities accredited by the Affiliation of Zoos and Aquariums, which is a nonprofit devoted to the development of zoos.
Proponents of the invoice argued that it will assist shield the neighborhood from the risks of unique animals, together with each bodily assaults and the unfold of illness, in addition to shield the animals themselves from probably unsafe residing situations. And Ohrenschall famous that there are 20 different states with “complete bans” on the possession of harmful wild animals.
However the invoice acquired vital backlash from unique pet homeowners and from entities accredited by a special wildlife administration nonprofit, the Zoological Affiliation of America. The Humane Society and different animal advocate teams have been crucial of the ZAA’s extra lenient insurance policies prior to now.
“This can be a large witch hunt to attempt to discover an excuse to close down the zoo, as a result of this invoice actually is not about defending the general public or defending the animals,” stated Tim Stoffel, of the Sierra Safari Zoo in Reno, which advertises itself because the state’s largest zoo with 50 completely different species. “It is about discovering one other solution to get rid of these animals from the human inhabitants.”
The invoice additionally acquired opposition from some Las Vegas entertainers who use animals of their reveals, although one of many invoice’s presenters, former Republican Sen. Warren Hardy, stated he could be working with stakeholders within the state’s gaming and leisure industries to make sure “good actors” from these teams should not affected by the invoice.
Editor’s Notice: This story first appeared in Behind the Bar, The Nevada Unbiased’s e-newsletter devoted to complete protection of the 2021 Legislature. Join the e-newsletter right here.