Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
Last week in Ohio, a federal judge upheld the state’s recently enacted restrictions on the private possession of exotic animals.
The ruling wasn’t issued on Christmas morning, and because it was warranted it didn’t feel like a gift, exactly, but nevertheless it brought joy to my world.
When 14 months ago an Ohio man freed dozens of lions, tigers, bears and other exotic animals from his backyard cages, then killed himself, and 48 of the animals within a few hours had been shot dead by authorities, it was clear that Ohio needed to do more to protect animals and the public. The resulting Dangerous Wild Animal Act received bipartisan support and was signed into law this summer.
Several exotic animal “owners” subsequently sued the state over the new law, claiming that it caused undue economic hardship and put their animals’ lives at risk by mandating they be microchipped.
Born Free USA knows that legislative work is sensitive and complicated and that improvements often can be made, but we must not let perfection be the enemy of the good when it comes to keeping dangerous wild animals out of the hands of people who are ill-equipped to care for them appropriately.
In this case, U.S. District Court Judge George Smith ruled in favor of Ohio's new law. Although an appeal is likely, at least for now the much-needed protections remain firmly in place.
And that is a happy, jolly thing indeed.