A Big Step In The Right Direction
USDA Updates Rules on Cub Handling
April 13, 2016
Turpentine Creek was excited to receive the official notice from the USDA about the new Neonatal law passed to protect newborn and infant (Neonatal/neonate) nondomestic cats (tigers/lions/cougars/bobcats/leopards/etc.) from being handled.
Although this law does not effect Turpentine Creek, as we are a hands off facility and do not allow public hands-on interaction with any of our animals no matter their age, we do see this as a very important step to protecting big cat welfare, reducing cub petting schemes, and eventually stopping the unrestricted breeding of big cats in captivity.
The USDA has officially set the neonatal age to 28 days or younger. Cubs, in this age category, are not allowed to be handled by the public. If the USDA finds a licensed facility to be in violation of this new law, they will be seen as noncompliant with the veterinary care and handling requirements of the Animal Welfare Act regulations and could have their licenses revoked.
The updated regulations on neonatal cub handling are due to the fact that cubs from birth until approximately 28 days cannot regulate their own body temperature and do not have a fully functioning immune system to fight off infections. The USDA suggests that cubs of this age either 1) be with their mother and healthy siblings as long as possible or 2) be housed in a controlled environment of heated, clean, and sheltered enclosure (such as a nursery).
“Neonates obtain immunity from their mother, primarily through antibody-rich colostrum (first milk), and should be housed with their mother as long as possible after birth to promote good health,” the USDA letter stated.
We, and the animals in our care, appreciate all the voices that have helped to make these changes. Change can only happen when we stand up for what we believe in and what is right. This is not the end, only the beginning. We still need your help to protect exotic animals from abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
Please continue to lend your voice to our cause. Sharing our mission is only part of what needs to be done to protect big cats. We must stand together and call out to the governing bodies that we will not stand for the mistreatment and mishandling of big cats and other exotic animals. Something must be done to keep us safe and the keep these animals safe.
Please continue to contact your local, state, and national representatives and let them know of your concern about the private ownership of big cats and other exotic animals. Let them know that you support the H.R. 3546 & S. 2541 Big Cat Public Safety Act, which will enact a single, nationwide, regulation on the ownership of big cats and other exotic animals.