rehab

Alabama has announced new state guidelines prohibiting the rescue of orphaned and injured wildlife. Naturally, such a decision has been met with an uproar of backlash from wildlife rehabilitators and animal lovers.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has forbidden anyone from saving or rehabilitating seven different animal species in the state including raccoons, foxes, skunks, opossums, coyotes, bats and feral pigs, reports The Inquisitr.

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Starting on September 1, Alabama wildlife rehabbers have been forced to obtain new permits that comply with the new regulations, according to WHNT. These include turning down anyone who calls for help with any of the above listed species and euthanizing these animals if they are brought in.

What’s the reasoning behind these new regulations? Simple biology, or rather the lack thereof, apparently.

Biologist Ray Metzler, assistant chief of wildlife for the state agency said, “There is no biological reason to rehabilitate these animals.”

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“Animals die every day. Every animal has to eat, and every animal has its place in the food chain. This may be a cruel way to put it, but it’s survival of fittest. It really is,” Metzler added.

In response to the new guidelines, Janet Stratman, a rehabber with North Alabama Wildlife Rehabilitators, said, “I’m not a euthanizer. I’m a rehabber. I didn’t get into this work to kill animals. I got into it to save animals.”

And Kim Robinson, a volunteer with North Alabama Wildlife Rehabilitators, has announced that she is leaving the organization as she refuses to abide by the new rules that she calls “irresponsible and reckless.”

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It does indeed seem cold-hearted and perhaps even irresponsible to simply let animals languish or automatically put to death, especially when their injuries may be human induced through hit-and-run car accidents and hunting malpractices.

The new law also includes fines for the illegal possession of animals in certain cases, reports Tuscaloosa News.

Alabama’s decision is a very traditionalist take on animals and emphasizes an extreme hands-off approach. But is a hands-off approach right in this situation? Shouldn’t we be “hands-off” in other industries instead say, with animals in entertainment, where there is absolutely no biological reason to keep them in captivity?

Let us hear your thoughts on this issue. What do you think about Alabama’s decision? Is it right? Wrong? Somewhere in-between?

Image source: Audrey / Flickr