New bill would allow Michigan zoos to breed lions, tigers, bears

Posted at 4:25 PM, Dec 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-01 16:34:22-05

LANSING, Mich. — A bill that would allow five Michigan zoos to breed a variety of large carnivore species is being introduced in the state legislature.

Polar bears, grizzly bears, lions, tigers, jaguars and cheetahs are among the species included in the legislation, according to a release.

Two West Michigan zoos, John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids and Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, are among the facilities that would be allowed to breed the large carnivores.  The Detroit Zoo, Potter Park Zoo in Lansing and the Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square in Saginaw are also included, according to a release.

“I want to live in a world where future generations will be able to still say ‘lions and tigers and bears, oh my,’ and know what these beautiful species are because they still exist,” Sen. Rick Jones, who is introducing the legislation, said in a release.

“In the past there were awful roadside animal attractions that were inhumane.  Animals were abused and inbreeding led to many problems for the species.  Due to this behavior, the state banned the breeding of large carnivores.”

Jones’ office said in a release that other institutions may also breed the species if they comply with the guidelines for public safety, animal welfare, veterinary care and conservation.