Live animals and museums

Sally Shelton Shelton.Sally at NMNH.SI.EDU
Mon Feb 22 14:45:02 CST 1999

I am trying to prepare a summary of applicable rules and regulations =
affecting captive live animals in museums. This is intended as an =
at-a-glance document to guide museum staff at a curatorial or administrativ=
e level with limited background in the laws and policies. The following =
scenarios suggest themselves, or have been suggested:

1. The museum is also in part a zoo and/or wildlife rehabilitation center =
with permanent captive wildlife.
2. The museum contains an exhibit of permanent captive animals, native, =
domestic and/or exotic, for educational purposes.
3. A museum researcher maintains captive wildlife in the museum for =
research purposes.
4. A museum researcher or other staff member maintains captive wildlife in =
the museum as permanent pets, but not as part of research.
5. A museum researcher or other staff member maintains a colony of =
domestic animals (e.g. mice) in the museum as a food source for research =
or pet animals.
6. A museum staff member brings in domestic pets (e.g. dogs) after hours =
or on weekends.
7. A museum staff member feeds feral domestic animals of the museum =
grounds or in the building.

For each activity, I'm interested in listing the following at a Federal or =
international level (I'll be pointing out the need to comply with all =
applicable state, county, and municipal regs as well):
*The agency or agencies with oversight of this activity
*The name/number of all applicable laws and policies
*The name of all applicable permits which must be sought, and wqhether =
this is issued to an individual or an institution
*The type and frequency of reporting requirements
*The requirements for care, housing, and veterinary inspection
*The penalties for violations
*Other comments (suugestions?)

I'm hearing about problems in many museums with a general lack of =
knowledge about the laws governing the capture and captivity of wildlife. =
I'm also hearing about problems when a museum staff member assumes that =
office space is private property, and subsequently brings in live animals =
without permits or permission. Nothing I'm hearing about to date seems to =
be venal or malicious--just underinformed.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Sally Shelton
Collections Officer
National Museum of Natural Histoy
Smithsonian Institution
<Shelton.Sally at>

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