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Educate & Stop Un-Ethical Wildlife Rehabs From Using Live Animals As Food in the name of "Rehab & Release"

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This is an appalling story about another wildlife rehab, who does not stop at using domestic rabbits as live prey for the rehab animals. They use helpless deer as well. The illogical notion that you must teach a wild fierce predator how to hunt is carried to the extreme by this facility.

How could they ever defend the use of defenseless animals, thrown into a caged enclosure, as an example of how to hunt. There is no way the facilities can create a natural hunting environment, where the “hunt animals” have their own defenses to protect themselves from becoming prey. Rabbits have holes to hide in; deer would avoid the panther because of the scent. They would run and hide. But when they are put into a false environment, one designed to keep the panther enclosed, they are already terrified because of the unfamiliarity of the environment, have no means of fighting, and are an easy kill from their fear and helplessness. How is this teaching a wild animal to “hunt?” A domestic house cat retains the instinct to hunt and does not need to be taught this skill. So how are we to believe that a fierce predator/big cat does not retain the same instincts? 

The Wildlife Rehabs in Florida who choose to practice live feeding of Domestic Rabbits (Big Cat Rescue Tampa and White Oak Conservation) claim they are either following Florida Fish and Game/Florida State feeding or reference IWRC / NWRA procedures. We have received no evidence to suggest IWRC/NWRA supports the live feeding of domestic rabbits.

We believe this barbaric practice is a Serious Issue and promotion of extreme animal cruelty as well as a concern of teaching wild big cats to hunt down domestic animals in the back yards of families and farms.

Using Animals that are being commercially produced for food purposes does not justify or give special permission by Law (regarding Florida Animal Cruelty Laws) to Wildlife Centers for the unnecessary barbaric live feeding of domestic animals to wild animals under rehab however the USDA, FWC Inspector General, State Attorney’s Office, Hillsborough County, and the State Attorney declined to file any formal charges for animal cruelty stating that it was not in violation of this Florida Statute justifying the act stating the prey items (rabbits) are purchased from a facility/vendor that propagates these animals as consumptive food product.

Domestic rabbits cannot survive in the wild, they are not found in the wild nor are they a part of a wild panther or big cat natural diet. Domestic rabbits are docile beings and easy targets that have no means of fighting back causing them a torturous and painful death.

 Based on facts and letters given by Professional Ethical Wildlife Rehabs and Experts we are asking that this practice of Feeding Live Domestic Rabbits be stopped immediately at these wildlife centers and ask FWC and USDA to consult with Veterinarians on proper nutrition of big cats and  ask them to recognize that this is deliberate intentional animal cruelty as referenced under the Florida Animal Cruelty Laws.