A Half-Hearted Attempt at Regulating Lion Ownership
This is a scary follow-up to my last post on exotic animals. Missouri has almost no regulations about owning large carnivores? And the requirement that people notify their local sheriff if they own a lion isn’t enforced? I blog again and again about excessive regulations, and now it turns out that in one of the few instances where detailed regulations would be appropriate, there aren’t any.
Something’s wrong when there’s more state oversight of manicurists at the mall than of people who keep tigers in their homes. It must be because cats and dogs aren’t lobbying for the government to erect barriers to entry, to keep out more exotic competing animals.
The Missouri House has passed a bill that would require large carnivore owners to: a) get a permit; b) provide the animal with “adequate” food and care; and, c) put up a sign that they have a potentially dangerous carnivore.
The requirement to feed the animal is meaningless. I’m not worried about the owner feeding the animal, I’m worried about the animal feeding himself. Big carnivores like lions do not eat set portions three times a day — they kill prey whenever they can get it. In other words, they’re always hungry. It’s not like you can make a lion less dangerous by feeding it on a schedule, the way you can make a toddler less irritable by giving him a snack.
Posting a sign is also not enough. Large carnivores do not read signs, are difficult to contain, and may leave their designated premises to go hunting in the surrounding neighborhood, despite the owner’s intentions.
Large carnivores belong in zoos — not in homes.