Thank you for your report on Clay Rosaire's Circus tigers. This storm could easily have resulted in half a dozen 500lb man eaters roaming the streets and that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to why these traveling side shows should be banned.
If you were to google "Kay Rosaire" or her son "Clay Rosaire" you would find that her organization does not rescue cats, but rather is a part of the problem rather than the solution. They do not walk the talk.
This is nothing more than an antiquated "carnie" circus.
Thankfully, in this more enlightened age of animal compassion, the market for these animal abusive displays is dwindling. Most people realize that there is nothing "educational" about seeing infant or adult wild animals caged, transported from venue to venue, "tamed" using abusive methods, existing solely as a profit center for a business. They watch Animal Planet, they visit truly accredited rescue sanctuaries, they are more aware of the reality of life for these imprisoned animals. In short, they are more educated and will look at anyone promoting them as irresponsible. (please note below the negative publicity that fairs have received as a result of displaying captive wildlife from leased organizations and the truth behind these displays)
Kay Rosaire's organization is not accredited and has been cited by the government for the abusive conditions in which their animals are kept. At a USDA Big Cat Symposium in Fort Worth, Texas on March 26, 2003, Kay Rosaire made this statement on stage: "To keep a tiger off you, you just poke 'em real hard with a pitchfork a time or two and show 'em who's boss. Then they'll get the message."
These two articles will give you background on what the Rosaire's are really about.
The animals have no voice, but you do, and you can still do so much to put an end to their abuse.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY NOT FAIR TO LIONS AND TIGERS
Fund for Animals Condemns Agricultural Fair for Hosting Big Cat Encounter
SILVER SPRING, MD (August 14, 2003)
The Fund for Animals is condemning the organizers of the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair for allowing the exhibit of lions and tigers by Rosaires Big Cat Encounter. Five lions and three tigers confined to small cages are on display at the fair this week.
The fair is taking a huge risk by promoting captive wild animal shows such as this, said Andi Bernat, Program Coordinator for The Fund for Animals. People unfortunately trust that these exotic animals can be domesticated when in fact, the animals often retain their wild instincts. According to the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, captive wild cats exhibited to the public have been responsible for 8 deaths and over 60 injuries. Bernat also pointed out that people who are in the business of displaying captive wild animals often end up selling or trading their animals to circuses, roadside petting zoos, and trophy hunting ranches.
In fact, Kay Rosaire, one of the Big Cat Encounter owners, was an exhibitor for UniverSoul Circus, which has been cited for a number of infractions including Animal Welfare Act violations, said Bernat. In 1999, the Big Cat Encounter was cited by the USDA for failure to provide proper veterinary care and for cages that did not meet minimal size requirements.
Captive wild animals deserve to be treated as animals, not as stage props, said Bernat. Having lions and tigers at a county fair is not only inhumane to the animals, but also poses a danger to citizens and could make the county and the fair organizers liable for injuries or deaths.
FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE ALLOWING WILD ANIMAL DISPLAYS
In an attempt to clean up the sleazy image long associated with roadside zoos, operators of these facilities now declare themselves "conservationists." They in fact do nothing to protect wildlife or preserve habitat, and they breed animals indiscriminately, without regard for genetic diversity and with nowhere suitable for them to go. What people learn from these exhibitors is how animals act in captivity and that it is acceptable to cause wild animals to be bored, cramped, lonely, and kept far from their natural homes.
Profit-hungry operators perpetually breed animals so that they will have an endless supply of "cute babies" in order to draw crowds. The older, unmanageable animals are left to languish in small cages or disposed of when they have exhausted their "usefulness." Exotic animal auctions, frequented by unscrupulous dealers, are a popular method of discarding unwanted "display" animals, who ultimately end up in the pet trade, on breeding farms, killed for their skins and other organs, or used for canned hunts. Some animals, such as tigers, lions, and bears—both cubs and adults—are worth more dead than alive. Hides alone can fetch $2,000 to $20,000 or more. Entire families are slaughtered and stuffed for mounts that sell for $10,000. To avoid damaging pelts, animals are killed by the most gruesome methods imaginable, such as shoving ice picks through their ears and into their brains, suffocating them by wrapping plastic bags around their heads, and drowning.
Wildlife exhibitors mislead the public with impressive-sounding but meaningless credentials, such as "federally licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of the Interior." Federal permits to exhibit, breed, or sell regulated animals are required and issued to nearly anyone who fills out an application and sends in a fee. The USDA exhibitor application is a 3/4-page-long form that asks for a person's name, address, and animal inventory but nothing that pertains to qualifications. The Animal Welfare Act, which the USDA enforces, sets only minimum standards of care and rarely addresses an animal's psychological needs. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the branch of the Department of the Interior that issues permits to buy and sell threatened and endangered species, considers non-native wildlife a low priority. Breeding mills have so saturated the market with "generic tigers" of unknown lineage that USFWS exempts these animals from full regulation. Some exhibitors even retain their licenses despite incidents of deadly animal attacks, dangerous animal escapes, serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and illegal wildlife trafficking.
Storms sidelined cats, but back now
By Emanuel Cavallaro
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
SPRINGFIELD ? The tigers at the Big Cat Encounter are performing
again, following the destruction caused to their cage and tent by a
fierce passing storm.
"We can't do anything," Clayton Rosaire said Tuesday afternoon, July
22, after the storm blew through Clark County "We're just letting
people get a chance to see how beautiful they are."
The 28-year-old Rosaire said he, his father and brother-in-law spent
much of early Tuesday morning in the elements fighting to save the 40-
foot tent that sheltered the tiger cage.
When the huge tent fell, it broke about six panels from the cage.
Later Tuesday, the long poles that made up the framework that held up
the tent lay broken on the ground.
"The rain was just so strong, and we were out here all night trying
to fight the weather," Rosaire said.
The five cats, Bengal and Siberian hybrids, were safe in a large
reinforced trailer during the storm. In the confusion and darkness,
Rosaire inadvertently kicked one of the tent poles on the ground and
broke two of his toes.
In the shows on Tuesday, the cats didn't perform so much as laze
around as Rosaire showed them off to spectators, partly because the
door that allowed him safe access to the tiger cage also was damaged
in the storm.
"If I can't get in and out safely, I'm not going in at all," he said.
With the cage reduced in size by the loss of the panels, the tigers
didn't have enough room to perform, and mild flooding caused
problems, too. A 600 pound tiger can be injured when performing on
wet, mushy ground.
"The most important thing to us is our animals' well-being," Rosaire
said. "It's just like an athlete. They can pull muscles, break bones."
Half of the cage panels and door have since been repaired and Big Cat
Encounter is now mounting their normal shows.
Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0367 or email@example.com.