Texas Safari Ranch, Clifton, TX, is operating without a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in violation of federal law.
The facility is owned by Jack Harvard who breeds exotic hoof stock, some of which is sold to game ranches to be used for canned hunts. About a year ago, Harvard acquired giraffes, admittedly with no prior giraffe owning experience.
Instead of operating a public safari or roadside zoo, Harvard operates his business as a vacation rental and event venue. Guests rent a home or event center on the property which then gives them access to feeding and interacting with the animals.
“Guests who book a stay at one of our houses and/or an event in Western Town have access to our 8+ miles of paved roads where you can observe and interact with all of our wildlife,” according to the Texas Safari Ranch Facebook page.
Harvard has never confirmed whether there is routine veterinary care available for the animals at the ranch. Followers who watched the 24-hour livestream of a giraffe named Annabelle said that at no time before or during her pregnancy, or after she gave birth, was a veterinarian brought in to assess Annabelle's health or the health of her calf, named Betty.
At only two months old, Texas Safari Ranch has begun separating Betty from Annabelle for up to five hours a day in order to rebreed Annabelle.
Several individuals have contacted Roadside Zoo News to express concerns over the lack of veterinary care at the facility. If Texas Safari Ranch was licensed by the USDA, they would be required to provide routine veterinary care to the animals as part of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
Texas exotic ranches appear to operate their facilities in a regulatory gray area, slipping under the radar without a federal license while apparently conducting regulated activities.
A spokesperson for the USDA said that “activities conducted at Texas exotic ranches are not governed by Animal Care under the Animal Welfare Act or Horse Protection Act.”
The spokesperson also confirmed Animal Care does regulate animals exhibited to the public, which Texas Safari Ranch is clearly doing by charging people to rent a cabin in order to gain access to the animals.
“Feel free to also check out our merchandise, too, and note that 100% of the proceeds from merchandise, bookings, events, etc … goes back into TSR in order to take care of our wildlife,” according to their Facebook page.
Texas Safari Ranch has been reported to the USDA for operating without a license but the agency has failed to take action. Please email the USDA at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them to cite Texas Safari Ranch for conducting regulated activities without a USDA license.
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