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Letter To A Senator

Exotic legal issues, bans, laws, regulations, Animal Rights discussions etc.

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Meg
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Letter To A Senator

Postby Meg » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:41 am

I am currently writing a letter to the Ohio legislature expressing my concerns about the upcoming "Dangerous Wild Animals" proposal. I do not own any exotic animals of my own, but a ban like this is still very troubling because I would like to protect the rights of responsible animal owners.

I would like to post the letter shortly, just to make sure all my facts are accurate and to see if anyone here has any corrections or feedback. However, before I do, I was trying to figure out the average cost of a lion, elephant, or other large animal. In short, I am trying to show how much time and money responsible owners have paid and how I believe it is unfair to require someone to give up something they have invested so much in.

Ash told me the cost of Giraffes was about 20,000. If you know of any other animal prices please let me know.

Any help with this letter would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
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amyers
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Re: Letter To A Senator

Postby amyers » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:48 am

I don't know about lions, but tigers can run up to 10,000, not to mention that unless you are buying from a breeder in-state, you have to be a 501(c)(3) sanctuary or USDA licensed ie not a private owner. Suitable enclosures would cost a fortune...at least if I were to build for something that size they would be. For our youngest cougar, her 21x25 cost us about $5000 dollars, and I think that is cramped for her, a tiger's would need to be at least triple that size.
Proud mom to 11 domestic cats, 3 dogs, 2 bobcats, 3 servals, 2 cougars, 1 Siberian lynx, 1 squirrel, and counting!
Meg
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Re: Letter To A Senator

Postby Meg » Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:54 pm

Thanks so much for your help. Tigers are a great example!

What about bears? Does anyone know if they are typically expensive to buy?
Meg
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Re: Letter To A Senator

Postby Meg » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:05 pm

Here is the letter I am planning to send to the Ohio State Legislature. If anyone has any suggestions, and especially if anyone has any corrections, please let me know. I want my information to be honest and accurate. I know the letter is long, but I would really appreciate any feedback. Here is the current draft of the letter:


Dear PUT NAME HERE,

Your opinion on the upcoming Dangerous Wild Animals Proposal is very important to me. I believe that Ohio’s decision will set a precedent for future exotic animal ownership. Therefore, I am hoping you will carefully consider both sides of the issue and make a decision that is both appropriate and fair.

While I understand that there are many strong feelings surrounding this proposal, I would like to express a few facts and concerns that may not have been adequately explained:

First, private exotic animal ownership is essential to animal conservation.

Whiles zoos and other large facilities do participate in conservation efforts, they simply do not have the funding or property necessary to rebuild the population of many endangered species. To illustrate this point, I would describe the circumstances of the African Wild Dogs. The African Wild Dogs are endangered even though they have large litters with an average of ten pups and take only two years to reach physical maturity. There are currently slightly over 100 African Wild Dogs in captivity, which means that in five years there could be 9,000 African Wild Dogs in captivity. Unfortunately, the money, land, and workers needed to keep that many animals in a zoo would be impossible. Releasing the animals back into the wild also produces insufficient results as the local farmers continue to kill African Wild Dogs in order to protect their livestock. Allowing private individuals to own exotic animals establishes an environment where the population of endangered animals could thrive as responsible owners gave of their own time, money, and land to take care of these animals. An example of private individuals aiding conservation is the American alligator. This species was once endangered, but after private individuals became involved, the population increased dramatically and today there is an overabundance of these animals.

Second, responsible exotic animal ownership is like driving a car.

There are responsible safe drivers. There are irresponsible drivers. Yet we still issue drivers license even though sometimes there will be accidents. Sometimes it will be the fault of an irresponsible driver who gets his or her license revoked. Sometimes it will be the capable and responsible drivers who make a mistake. Sometimes drivers may get in accidents that are not their fault at all. The Media always publicizes when zoo animals get out of their enclosures, or when private individuals--sometimes irresponsibly and sometimes simply by unforeseeable circumstance-- are harmed by an animal. These events are tragic and unfortunate. Sometimes circumstances are very sad. However, with responsible animals ownership, these occurrences could be minimized. Like irresponsible driving, irresponsible animal ownership absolutely must be stopped. Yet, there are many safe and responsible animal owners. These owners take all the necessary precautions and could be encouraged to continue their example. I feel that the focus of the legislature should be not to ban or limit exotic animal ownership, but to encourage responsible animal ownership.

Third, animals have a better quality of life in captivity.

I feel this is a point often overlooked by PETA or other groups that discourage animal ownership. A fox, for example, has a lifespan of three years in the wild and ten in captivity. Lions twelve years compared to twenty-two. Wolves eight to fifteen. In the wild, foxes especially become sick with mange, distemper, or other fatal diseases that are easily treated or prevented by a veterinarian. A responsible owner will make sure their animals are healthy, well fed, well groomed, and well socialized, comforts these animals do not have in the wild.

Fourth, Exotic animals are an investment of time, an investment of money, and in some cases a business investment.

The current draft of the law that will be proposed to the legislation gives a two year period in which exotic animal owners must sell their animals. Most of these animals cost several thousand dollars. For example, Giraffes typically sell for 20,000 dollars, tigers for 10,000, elephants for ???. Of course, this does not include the cost of food, veterinary bills, and enclosure upkeep. Owners of private zoos or private breeders have sometimes paid more to establish their programs than the average person spends on a house. Zoos, breeders, importers, and exporters have spent a great deal of their own time and money acquiring, raising, and keeping their animals. Importing and breeding animals is a business venture, often a full time job. These owners have obeyed all laws regarding animal ownership and have invested in these animals. I feel that forcing people to give up their animals—in a sense, their money, property, and often business—would be unfair.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my letter. I appreciate your willingness to discuss this matter. Whatever decision you choose to make, I am grateful for your careful consideration on the proposal. Please choose the course of action that you feel is right. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Meg



Or course, I will sign the actual letter with my full first and last name. Let me know what you think. thanks!
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Neofelis
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Re: Letter To A Senator

Postby Neofelis » Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:42 pm

You make really good points!! Very excellent letter. The only thing I might change would be the closing and especially opening statements. While your actual letter is brilliant, those two parts sound a tad on the personal side, rather than disassociated professional. Maybe it's just my individual preference. But otherwise, bravo!
Meg
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Re: Letter To A Senator

Postby Meg » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:10 pm

Thanks for your help. I gave your suggestion consideration, but decided that I was going to keep the more personal intro and conclusion, but I really appreciate the suggestion. Thanks so much for the help so far. I'm starting to send off this letter to the very long list of Senators and Representative in Ohio. Hopefully I can get to them all!
Meg
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Re: Letter To A Senator

Postby Meg » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:03 pm

Whew! Just finished sending my letter out to the entire Senate. I think I'll tackle the House tomorrow. icon-smile

Everyone please try to write letters too. We need to let our views be heard. Letters to the editor of a local newspaper could be helpful as well.

Also, if anyone else wants feedback on a letter, I'd be more than happy to read it over.
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Re: Letter To A Senator

Postby veralidaine » Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:42 pm

That looks really awesome!

When I was writing a pro-exotics article, I also encountered the issue of just sticking to facts vs. being a little more personal. On one hand, it seems that pure facts will be what convinces somebody but on the other hand, I gotta wonder if being a little personal will be what tips the scales in our favour because, I mean, most legislators probably don't relate to this at all, not having an exotic pet themselves, and feel rather distant to the issue, not really realising how a ban would affect people.

I dunno...it's a touchy thing, I think, finding the right balance, but I think you did a good job.

Have any of the senators responded to your letter?
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Ash
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Re: Letter To A Senator

Postby Ash » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:42 pm

Meg is my sister, and she's really busy. So I'm not sure when she'll hop on next.

A few senators did get back to her. One of them in particular responded very positively and even said that she and I could come out to Columbus to speak if we wanted. He probably thought we were citizens of Ohio, but we're not. And since we're so far away, we can't unfortunately.

I feel that those speaking should also have experience with large "controversial" exotics. So neither she nor I can really speak from experience, which would probably be much more convincing. Still, if I was in Ohio I would probably go for it just because there needs to be more voices heard. Even if I don't own anything "dangerous" I'm pretty sure I will at some point.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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veralidaine
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Re: Letter To A Senator

Postby veralidaine » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:48 pm

Awww, that's too bad; I bet it would be an awesome help if somebody went to talk to them. Maybe you could find somebody on here who lives in Ohio and can go see a senator and you could 'reccommend' them to the senator as being a good substitute?
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Ash
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Re: Letter To A Senator

Postby Ash » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:13 am

I think if anyone wants to speak they can email a senator and ask--that's what it sounded like to me. I'm sure they would like to have many voices on the issue. The one senator mentioned that. ;)
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas

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