Julie Hanan on Species Laundering
My Letter to the Editor, Tampa Tribune
You can submit yours at http://www.tbo.com/news/opinion/submissionform.htm
10,000 animals through Lowry alone! What a fantastic education the public is getting by this investigation. Those who even thought to ask, "Hey, wasn't there another rhino here? Where did it go?" heard "It went to another facility." More than likely, they thought, "That sounds good enough to me." Now the public knows the truth; that zoos have been among the biggest launderers of exotic species in the world.
At Lowry, we've seen that animals start their lives in a zoo and, when no longer needed or wanted or when there are too many in a collection, these "surplus" animals are moved out. A system has been developed to move them out, sell them, resell them, sell them again, move them on down the pipeline to auctions, dealers, canned hunts, etc. Eventually, the paper trail disappears and everyone along the line has deniability if it comes out that the animal ended up in a bad place. Look how difficult it's been to track the 10,000 animals at Lowry alone. This animal pipeline must stop.
We have entrusted people who work at the zoo to do right by us. Like Lowry, most AZA zoos are municipally funded and we think, "certainly they are not taking our tax dollars and doing bad things, are they?" Now, we know better and if we don't take steps to force change at our zoo and others, then we, the public, are equally culpable in this animal genocide.
While the mayor is taking her time analyzing this mess, it is also time for our city council to force a change of leadership. How about a zoo CEO who truly cares about animal welfare and cradle to grave responsibility for animals? Are there any of those out there?
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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