A private place is not a suitable home for full-grown tigers

A private place is not a suitable home for full-grown tigers

August 23, 2009

Note: The following article is in response to:

Ashland couple, tigers face foreclosure

Ashland couple, 5 tigers to stay

Your piece about this couple’s “plight” missed an opportunity to point out how many animals are affected by human avarice. You can cage them, chain them and deny them everything they want and need, but tigers are not pets.

The very essence of tigers makes captivity a living hell for them. Tigers are designed by nature to roam far and wide, to seek out mates, to hunt and claim territory. In the pet trade, cubs are torn from their mothers when they are just days old. In the wild, tiger cubs stay with their mothers for three years; mothers spend weeks calling frantically for their babies when they are taken away.

Because they make profitable photo props, tiger cubs are not typically in need of rescue. It’s only when they’ve outgrown their manageability and “cuteness” that tigers are discarded through classified ads and backyard deals. Yet, as previously reported, Jose and Denise Flores “rescued” four tigers — oddly, all cubs — and kept them in their basement.

Legitimate sanctuaries provide as close to a natural environment possible, and don’t treat wild animals as pets. Nor do sanctuaries allow their rescued animals to breed, thus perpetuating the overwhelming problem: too-many big cats with too-few homes. Yet the Flores’ apparently allowed two of their tigers to breed, which led to a fifth cub.

This facility needs to be shut down without delay. It’s clear the Flores did not have the proper facilities or money to take on these animals in the first place. The cats deserve better.

Jennifer O’Connor
Animals in Entertainment Campaign Writer
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Norfolk, Va.




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