by guest blogger Monica Hooper
There’s something afoot that Mainers should know about.
The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is proposing a complete repeal and replacement of the Chapter 7 Rules and Regulations for Captive Wildlife. These new laws will provide for an in-depth classification of species in 3 categories of what cannot be owned, what can be owned without a permit, what can be owned with a permit. There will be stronger laws prohibiting public contact with wild animals and prohibiting the repeated daily handling of wild animals for public viewing, aka “educational tour lectures”. Educational credentials and documented experience will be required for applicants. Extensive record keeping will be required including detailed documentation all births, deaths and transfers of animals, tracking where animals go. Educational and training requirements for employees and all current permit holders will be required to comply with the new laws by January 1, 2018.
Unfortunately, Maine is still a long way from being close to accepting a no breeding policy. However, required record keeping including tracking of animal breeding and commerce/sales will reveal just how deep the captive wildlife trade exists in our state of Maine. Previous to these rules, it was not properly tracked when animals were born or where they end up. I along with countless others have been continuously asking backyard zoos like DEW Haven to divulge the information of exactly where were do some of these lion cubs born there (unannounced publicly of course) end up!? Not just lion cubs but tiger cubs, bobcat kittens, bear cubs etc. You name it and it is dealt out of there and gone without a trace.
Julie Miner spoke out on some of her concerns regarding the new proposals in front of the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council on Saturday June 11th. The word that she repeated over and over was “revenue”. If they were going to be reined in with their rampant breeding practices because of these new proposals, they would lose revenue. Her concern is not for the welfare of these animals but wanting to make sure there will be enough stock to replace the old plus new babies to draw in the crowds and then sell them to other similar backyard breeding zoos. After all, this is a business isn’t it?
Thankfully Maine IF&W and the powers that be are hearing the cries of the public from both within and outside of Maine. We don’t want Maine to be known as the state that has this zoo which treats beautiful, exotic wildlife like commodities under the guise of a rescue when it is the furthest thing from one! The television show “Yankee Jungle” was cancelled because of the abuse that came to light in the history of this operation.
C’mon Mainers! We can do better than that! The public comment period is open until Friday June 17th. Voice your opinion in favor of these new proposals and that they are not strict enough by clicking on or copying:
Animals don’t have voices to defend themselves. They can’t say “stop breeding me for money” or “why did you take my baby away from me”. That is what we are here for.
Monica Hooper was born in Farmington, Maine and raised in New Sharon, Maine. She is not an out-of-stater or a vegan animal rights activist, has 17 years of experience caring for large cats and exotic animals in Pennsylvania and Maine, and held a permit in the state of Maine for 12 years to possess two rescued mountain lions. Monica is in firm support of the proposed changes. Permit holders should be held to a higher level of accountability and standards concerning their animal care practices.
For more perspectives about Maine’s wildlife and other related matters, tune into a new radio program Into The Wilderness broadcast Tuesday evenings from 8-8:30 on WMPG FM 90.9.