Don't bite on animal idea

Published March 2, 2012

The Florida Legislature is often a circus, so it's predictable it would consider allowing public land to be used by zoos for rhinos, giraffes, hippos, moose and other untamed species. A professional courtesy, perhaps? This is the kind of Tallahassee foolishness that invariably occurs in the twilight of legislative sessions among lawmakers with too much time on their hands and too little common sense.

Florida is already burdened with nonnative wildlife such as Burmese pythons and other abandoned reptiles. Now bills are being herded through the Legislature that would allow the 16 members of the Florida Association of Zoos to lease state-owned land for "enhanced research" and breeding of hoofed animals and various avian species.

There are legitimate concerns about securing such large and powerful nonnative animals across broad expanses of state land. They also could pose a risk by introducing nonnative disease and parasites into the native populations and threatening native habitats.

If passed by the Legislature, Gov. Rick Scott should veto this Doctor Dolittle debacle.