Governor Rick Scott vetoes bill allowing zoo animals on public lands

Apr 6, 2012

The following article was published in The Florida Current on April 6, 2012:

Scott vetoes bill allowing zoo animals on public lands

By Bruce Ritchie

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday vetoed HB 1117, a bill that would have allowed the Cabinet to approve placing zoo animals on public lands.

The Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums said the bill was needed to prevent extinction of elephants, giraffes and other African herd animals by giving them space to roam.

Opponents said the animals would use public lands needed for the conservation of native wildlife and prevent public use of recreational lands. Audubon of Florida and the Florida Wildlife Federation were among those calling for a veto.

Scott said the authority sought through the bill already exists in current law. He said the Cabinet and the five water management district boards may authorize the use of any state-owned lands that is not inconsistent with the Constitution and Florida law.

“Additionally I believe the bill lacks sufficient safeguards, and may restrict the (Cabinet) and the governing boards, to ensure the protection of state and district lands, native species and habitats,” Scott wrote in his veto letter.

Also Friday, Scott signed HB 1197, an agricultural bill that drew opposition because it was amended on the final week of the legislative session to repeal a 1968 law prohibiting the dyeing of pets and the sale of chicks and bunnies. The bill also would prohibit local governments from regulating beekeeping.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was among the opponents calling for a veto. They said the bill would encourage the giving of chicks and bunnies as Easter presents that later would be discarded.

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