USDA Regulation Investigation Request Into Big Cat Rescue
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According to the APHIS USDA regulations, it appears that Big Cat Rescue, a big cat facility operating out of Tampa, Florida, is in violation of the applicable laws and regulations that are supposed to govern facilities that have large exotic cats.
Multiple photos and videos posted on social media by Big Cat Rescue show several people possibly interfering with medical procedures by unnecessarily painting the paws of sedated cats that will undergo medical evaluations and life saving surgeries. Some of those people may be paid volunteers as indicated by a page found on Big Cat Rescue’s website where they offer people the chance to pay to “volunteer”.
Pay for an adventure/volunteer, pass an "Online Zoo education course" and interact with sedated cats receiving medical procedures:
"You absolutely cannot touch the cats, unless it just so happens that one is sedated for medical procedures that particular week"
(give the page time to load, the original page’s wording was completely changed). Hiding the original post does not change the facts or possible USDA violations.
USDA/APHIS - Big Cat Question and Answer Commonly Asked Big Cat Questions
"Are volunteers members of the public? The public and the general viewing public can also include volunteers. We have learned of several exhibitors who charge fees or accept donations from volunteers or trainees in exchange for interaction with juvenile and/or adult big cats. We consider such volunteers or trainees to constitute the public, and have prosecuted these exhibitors for violating the handling regulations, among other things".
We the petitioners respectfully request a USDA Inspection into Big Cat Rescue Tampa and these practices. Referencing USDA/APHIS regulations - passing an online course with a week of hands off training to work near Big Cats in a surgery room where the animals could come out of sedation at any given time is not proper training, as well as non essential tasks and distractions occurring in the surgery room being in the best interest or welfare of the big cats.
You may directly file an Animal Welfare complaint (anonymous or not) on the USDA website
Big Cat Rescue Corp
USDA Customer ID 3137
Certificate 58 - C - 0814
American Veterinary Medical Association
The Principles A veterinarian shall be influenced only by the welfare of the patient, the needs of the client, the safety of the public, and the need to uphold the public trust vested in the veterinary profession, and shall avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof.
AVMA policies are not, and do not supersede, law or regulation.
The AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics are unique in that violation of these may result in disciplinary action by the AVMA.
Section 2.131 Handling of animals.
(c)(4) Drugs, such as tranquilizers shall not be used to facilitate, allor or provide for public handling of the animals.
2.131 Handling of animals.
(c)1 During public exhibition, any animal must be handled so there is minimal risk of harm to the animal and to the public, with SUFFICIENT DISTANCE AND/OR BARRIERS between the animal and the general viewing public so as to assure the safety of the animals and the public (and they ARE PUBLIC because she is charging them a fee)
2.131 Handling of animals.
(b)(1) Handling of all animals shall be done as expeditiously and carefully as possible in a manner that does not cause trauma, overheating, excessive cooling, behavioral stress, physical harm, or unnecessary discomfort.
Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations
Handling means petting, feeding, watering, cleaning, manipulating, loading, crating, shifting, transferring, immobilizing, restraining, treating, training, working and moving, or any similar activity with respect to any animal.
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