Carole’s Letter to Lori at Neuvo Newsweekly
The questions I would really like to see the media expose are the following:
Why is is that “sanctuaries” and those who profess to “love” the big cats are so violently opposed to legislation that would end the private trade in them as pets and collectibles? My goal is that places like Big Cat Rescue no longer need to exist and my path to that goal is by asking for legislation that bans the breeding, sale, trade and collecting of these great cats. As a result, I may be the most hated person in the big cat “industry” and yet most of the people who spend so much time trying to discredit me with their lies and insinuations claim to be in the rescue and sanctuary business. Why isn’t ending the abuse the most important goal of those who claim to be saving big cats from abuse?
Why are tigers being born in sanctuaries when there isn’t enough sanctuary space for all of the unwanted big cats?
Why would a sanctuary take a baby big cat from a breeder who isn’t going to stop breeding?
Online polls show that 92% of the public are opposed to inbreeding an animal just to get a unusual coat color, but they clamor to see a white tiger?
Where do all of the babies from last year go? When you look around at all of the places who advertise baby lions and tigers, where do they all go for the next 20 years?
It costs Big Cat Rescue between $5,000 and $7,500 per year to provide proper care for a big cat. Multiply that by the number of big cats in these pseudo sanctuaries and roadside zoos and then compare it to their annual budgets.
Lack of accountability. Most of these places hide behind their USDA licenses as if it were a badge of honor, but if you visit the abusers page on www.911AnimalAbuse.com you will see a repeating pattern of facilities having USDA violations reported year after year, for six years in some cases, before the USDA takes action. Meanwhile the USDA keeps renewing their licenses. Why does USDA renew licenses each year of facilities that have failed to meet even the more minimal of standards? To give you an idea of how low the standards are, the size of cage for a tiger only has to be big enough for the cat to stand up and turn around.
What does it cost the tax payer? When less than 1/10th of one percent of the public owns exotic animals, why do tax dollars fund entire governmental departments to regulate an industry that is unneeded and inhumane? What are the actual costs to tax payers for all of the reporting, licensing, enforcement and the clean up costs after these places allow escapes or they go belly up?
62% of the people polled say that seeing big cats in cages has done nothing to cause them to donate to conservation in the wild. Almost all of the places that use big cats for income will cite that noble cause as their excuse, and yet how much of the money they raise is actually put to work in saving the habitats?
The tiger is the best example of how this doesn’t ring true. No big cat is more commonly kept in zoos and back yard menageries and yet with less than 4,000 left in the wild and one being poached per day, it is obvious that this great cat will disappear in the next few years. All of the cats who were born in cages for the last hundred years did nothing to stop the onslaught. I believe that the practice of keeping cats in cages has actually led to their demise in the wild. If you can have the convenience of driving a few miles to see a tiger in a cage, then why protect them half a world away where you may never see them?
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457