Exotic Pet Rhetoric

I should probably blog more on current animal events of the day but I seem to dwell in a limbic space many hours behind the news cycle and constantly butt up against the law of diminishing relevance.  For example, this whole chimp- mauling thing…  Since we all know the gruesome details, I’ll confine my comments to the recently introduced Captive Primate Safety Act, which just passed the House.  The bill seeks to ban interstate commerce in primates for the exotic pet trade.

The legislation itself is straightforward enough and currently awaits action in the Senate.  Perhaps more noteworthy than the bill’s passage was the rhetoric of those who opposed it.  For example, Rob Bishop of Utah and Paul Broun of Georgia felt that protecting humans from “monkey bites” should be solely the job of the states.  Rep. Bishop perseverated about the Congress having far more important matters to tackle (i.e the stimulus bill, the war(s), etc.).  Apparently included in that crucial national business were two bills Mr. Bishop had sponsored that deal with minor land transfers.  Hat tip to Wayne Pacelle’s blog for that particular skinny.

I confess that Michael Markarian’s comments on the issue also have left me non-plussed.  He seems solely concerned with the (very real and disturbing) human tragedy of the attack and the potential for more such incidents.  He does not mention the exploitation of the animals and the fact that, even when such animals attack, they are simply acting like what they are — wild animals.  It is an ongoing sadness that when wild animals get captured and indentured and then act like what they are, their destruction and denouncement inevitably soon follows.  Perhaps during a lull amidst Rep. Bishop’s pressing national business, someone in Congress could speak about that.


2 Responses

  1. I find very disturbing states that place no restrictions on the private (even residential) ownership of big cats, especially tigers. There have been a number of tragedies when these animals, predictably unpredictable, have in a second or two killed or mauled their keeper, including children allowed to take care of and “play” with these felines.

    The argument that this matter should be left to the states is the same tired objection to Congress’s employment of the Commerce Clause to deal with a subject that truly does involve interstate commerce. Even under the Supreme Court’s test that a law regulating commerce must be for a matter that “substantially affects” interstate commerce (when Congress is directly regulating the goods or the arteries of commerce), a federal ban on private possession of dangerous animals should withstand a challenge.

  2. […] put a name with this initiative need look no further than the inimitable Rob Bishop of Utah, whose comments regarding the Captive Primate Safety Act (proposed following the unfortunate mauling of a […]

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