Ringling Tiger Re-Export Permit: Is There Legal Ground For F&W To Deny It?
So there’s this thing where the animal rights movement is attempting to prevent one of Ringling’s tiger trainers, Alexander Lacey, from taking his tigers back to Germany with him. While many of Ringling’s tigers were owned by their parent company, Feld Entertainment, Lacey brought big cats of multiple species that he owned with him to the United States when he contracted with Ringling. He is now attempting to take all of his animals back to Europe, where he would continue performing in circus acts with them at a German circus. The animal rights movement is trying to stop that, and some actors have suggested Lacey be forced to give his animals to a sanctuary. Whether the animals should continue to be part of a circus is a contentious and highly personal topic that won’t be covered in this post – what’s even more important to look at in this specific situation is if the denial of the export permit the animal rights movement is calling for is an action supported under law.
First off, let’s clarify what is actually going on. Feld Entertainment / Lacey has applied for an export permits for all but one of the big cats he brought with him: one African leopard, one Siberian tiger, seven generic tigers, and six lions. It is noted in the CITES permit application document that the last cat, a tigress, is being retired to a non-profit facility in the United States rather than transported back to Europe due to her extreme age. Lacey’s cats were imported to the states in 3 groups, arriving in 2011, 2013, and 2014. The permit application (some 680+ pages) also includes documentation that all of the cats were born in captivity, their previous CITES import permits, documents detailing their planned transport, documents detailing their future care and handling in Germany, information on the conservation programs Ringling has supported with the profits from utilizing the animals, and examples of conservation messaging and education that were utilized at Ringling events. All of these documents are required by Fish and Wildlife to grant the re-export permit.
Link to Full Article at Why Animals Do the Thing Blog.