April 6, 2015
Gov. Hutchinson Urged to Veto Bill that will Weaken Current Exotic Animal Law
A bill that will weaken the current exotic animal law is on its way to the governor. HB 1551 would allow unprofessional roadside zoos to be exempt from an existing law that bans the private possession of most primates. Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife protection for The Humane Society of the United States issued the following statement:
"Arkansas must maintain its current law that restricts the possession of primates to professionally-run and fiscally responsible facilities with trained and knowledgeable staff. HB 1551 will be bad for the animals, pose an unnecessary risk to the public and reverse the very progressive stance that Arkansas has demonstrated on this issue. We urge Gov. Hutchinson to veto this bill.”
Currently, only institutions accredited by the credible and respected Association of Zoos and Aquariums and sanctuaries are exempt. HB 1551 essentially renders this law ineffective by adding a group calling itself the Zoological Association of America, a fringe group with weak standards that accredits poorly run roadside zoos, and any other zoo-accrediting organization as exemptions to the law.
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