I sent this to the reporter: Tiffany McBride
Thank you for covering this issue. We have offered to neuter all of their male cats if they would stop promoting the things that cause people to buy these animals as pets and pay to play with their cubs. When people see photos and videos of big cats being petted, walked on leashes and treated like pets; they want them as pets and that never works out. When people are told at these "educational" shows that the cubs are bred to "save the species" it is a lie that makes people think they are doing something good by donating to people who breed big cats.
I have had extensive correspondence with Effie Blue asking them to alter their message so as to help the cats (and themselves) rather than adding to the problem. We were willing to have our vets come and neuter their males to end the breeding. They kept asking us for money and wanted us to pay their vet three to four times what ours would charge us, in addition to them wanting to pick and choose which cats to alter and only one at a time. We could come in and have all the males done in less than an hour per cat and they wouldn't have to worry about unwanted cubs. They claim their aversion to this was for safety reasons, but we have 137 big cats and have been doing this for 16 years. We know how to neuter a cat.
I posted the following comment to your article online. It is not my intention to harm the cats in Cocoa by letting people know that this facility isn't doing all it should, but it would be helpful if you could let your readers know that they can stop the abuse by speaking out to the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Governor who appoints them. FL is unlike any other state in the country because in FL the FWC has "constitutional authority" over all wildlife rules. In every other state, people can complaint to their legislators to end the kind of abuse that FL is famous for; ie: circus acts, back yard breeders of big cats, canned hunts and pseudo sanctuaries duping the public with misinformation about why they are breeding so many big cats each year when legitimate sanctuaries are turning away nearly a 100 big cats each year.
You can do something about the flood of unwanted big cats by attending the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commissioners meeting June 17 Plantation Inn 9301 West Fort Island Trail Crystal River, FL 34429 from 8:30 till 4pm. They are discussing new rules and have decided that neighbors should NOT be notified before someone moves in with tigers, despite thousands of calls and letters from concerned neighbors who find out they are living next door to big cats, bears, pythons and venomous snakes. There is no state law that prohibits having these animals next to residences, schools, day care centers, etc.
There is a huge problem of people using big cats for shows and photo ops and then relegating them to back yard cages, killing them for their parts or selling them to canned hunts. The answer is not to build more rescue centers, but rather to stop the breeding and exploiting of these animals. None of the cats in private hands are part of any real conservation program. None will ever repopulate the wild. They are only bred in captivity because ignorant people will pay to see them in cages. Ending the breeding ends the problem. Tell the FWC you want them to end the breeding of big cats at RuleChanges@MyFWC.com or at the meeting.
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
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