Jones introducing zoo animal breeding bill

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones will be introducing legislation to allow five Michigan zoos to breed large carnivores for the protection of the species.

“I want to live in a world where future generations will be able to still say ‘lions and tigers and bears, oh my,’ and know what these beautiful species are because they still exist,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “In the past there were awful roadside animal attractions that were inhumane. Animals were abused and inbreeding led to many problems for the species. Due to this behavior, the state banned the breeding of large carnivores.

“We have come a long way in animal conservation, and it is time to reevaluate this ban and allow creditable zoos and facilities to breed these animals for the protection and permanency of these species.”

Jones’ legislation would allow the five zoos that are part of the American Association of Zoo and Aquariums in Michigan to breed large carnivores. These are Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square in Saginaw, John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, Potter Park Zoo in Lansing and the Detroit Zoo.

“Allowing these highly accredited facilities to help save these animals from the threat of extinction is good for everyone — the animals, the zoos and our society,” Jones said. “This legislation will ensure that appropriate breeding will take place amongst qualified facilities that know how to properly care for these animals and protect these animals from those who seek to make profit on them.”

Large carnivores covered by the bill include such species as lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, polar bears, black bears, brown bears and grizzly bears.

Other institutions may also breed these species if they comply with all the specified criteria such as public safety, animal welfare, veterinary care and conservation.