Tighten animal farm regulations

Updated: 2013-08-27 09:25

(China Daily)

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More than 20 crocodiles escaped from a privately owned breeding farm in Shantou, Guangdong province, on Aug 18, when its wall collapsed because of the flooding triggered by Typhoon Utor. The incident highlights the loopholes in the management of wildlife breeding sector, says an article in Beijing Morning Post. Excerpts:

The breeding of protected or even dangerous animals, such as crocodiles, boa constrictors and cobras, is becoming popular. Many of these animals are bred to be sold as pets, but the farms, if not managed properly, could pose a threat to people's lives.

Although it is not known whether the escaped crocodiles have attacked any humans or how many of them have been caught, the incident shows that management of private animal breeding farms are not what it should be.

According to regulations, people or companies who want to raise or breed wildlife have to apply to local forestry authorities. And after getting the clearance from the local authorities, they have to seek the permission of the State Forestry Administration before they can actually start a farm.

But thanks to the huge profits generated by the business, many people have been breeding dangerous animals illegally. Besides, the lack of effective supervision has emboldened even licensed breeders to violate some rules in the day-to-day running of their farms.

Lenient punishment for violating the rules has encouraged many people to enter the animal breeding business both legally and illegally. In some cases, local authorities have had to shoulder the responsibility and bear the cost of catching the dangerous animals that have escaped from breeding farms because of accidents or mismanagement.

It's time the authorities tightened supervision and intensified legislative efforts to curb illegal breeding of dangerous animals. Moreover, the authorities should also impose stricter punishment on farm owners who violate the rules to deter others from taking things for granted.