USDA's Animal Care program has issued new guidance to its inspectors for evaluating the height of enclosures for lions and tigers at stationary facilities. This guidance is aimed at assuring that USDA inspections will be consistent when determining a facility's compliance with the Animal Welfare Act regulations.
In light of several escapes that have occurred over the past few years, Animal Care evaluated fence heights and configurations at all USDA-licensed facilities that have lions and tigers. These evaluations build upon Animal Care's 40+ years of experience inspecting facilities that house potentially dangerous animals and the program's deep understanding of each species' physical capabilities.
The following link will bring you to the updated Animal Care Inspection Guide - Enclosure Fencing Section.
Animal Care is the federal unit that enforces the Animal Welfare Act. This Act sets standards for humane care and treatment that must be provided for warm-blooded animals that are: exhibited to the public; bred for commercial sale; used in biomedical research; or transported commercially. Individuals/entities that operate facilities using animals in these ways are required to provide their animals with adequate housing, sanitation, nutrition, water and veterinary care, and they must protect the animals from extreme weather and temperatures. When potentially dangerous animals are exhibited to the public for compensation, the federal regulations require that USDA-licensed exhibitors ensure the safety of their animals and protect the viewing public from any contact with the animals.
At Animal Care, ensuring the welfare of the animals we regulate is at the heart of everything we do.