June 9 2017
Big Cat Updates
Cheetaro went home from FunCation.
The tunnels are up for Mac Cougar, in case he decides to go on FunCation.
Babycakes is doing fine.
Divinity Bobcat’s lab results say no cancer cells in the swollen ankles, so she’s on some new arthritis meds and should be going back out soon.
We were disgusted to learn that all of three of the new cats had been declawed illegally. In 2006 the USDA barred this action saying,
“Declawing or the removal of the canine teeth (fangs) in wild or exotic carnivores or nonhuman primates is no longer considered to be appropriate veterinary care unless prescribed by the attending veterinarian for treatment of individual medical problems of the paws or teeth. These procedures are no longer considered to be acceptable when performed solely for handling or husbandry purposes since they can cause considerable pain and discomfort to the animal and may result in chronic health problems. These procedures are no longer allowed under the Animal Welfare Act. This notice is consistent with the current position statement issued by the American Veterinary Medical Association.”
The previous owners failed to supply any health records or even a date of birth for the cats, so we have to use the standard, when you know the year but not the day, by giving the caracals the birthday of 1/1/2011 and the serval the birthday of 1/1/2015.
They were weighed in Ohio Monday morning and given an exam.
- Cyrus Caracal 32.5 lbs
- Chaos Caracal 27.5 lbs
- Zucari Serval 17.5 lbs
Exotic owners always go on and on about how much they love their exotic pets, but it’s really all about them and not the cats. If the owners cared about the cats they would have provided as much documentation and guidance on what the cats like or don’t like, shots, etc., no matter how angry they might have been at getting caught.
Viewer Beth Parent: Great screen shot of Zucari in one of his dens.
Keep your car cool during hot months with this Cat Eyes Auto Shade Keep your car cool and protect your dashboard from harmful UV rays. This black shade with green cat eyes adheres to your windshield with two provided suction cups. Fits most cars. Shade is 50″ x 27.5″
Evening Walkabout with Carole. Kathryn Saves Cheetaro Leopard. The bugs are getting bigger and bite-ier. Great view of Purr-fection Ocelot lounging up on top of her high platform. Check in on Zucari Serval, Cyrus and Chaos Caracal and JoJo the Serval / Caracal Hybrid. See the gift shop and “guest cage” project. Hear Gilligan calling in the background.
Momma Fifi has been adopted as well as the following kittens…..
Great job, everyone!
Standing room only at Hill briefing on animal welfare and transparency. This is briefing Carole was discussing in yesterday’s Facebook Live video. This is the discussion about the USDA having taken down the USDA reports and citations.
People has recently been asking: What is the USDA Blackout you are talking about?
To explain the issue here is an informative article written by our Director of Outreach, Jennifer Leon.
Battling Big Cat Abusers in the Dark
By: Jennifer Leon
On February 3, 2017, animals across the U.S. were dealt a devastating blow when the USDA sent notification that their public search tool, which housed records and inspection reports for about 9,000 facilities, had been removed from their website.
Big Cat Rescue immediately went into action, thoroughly examining the USDA website for any remaining information that we could capture before it was scrubbed. Thankfully we had just completed a massive records download in January – so we had up to date inspection reports and inventories for all the big cat facilities we monitor.
The USDA’s unexpected and alarming decision to hide records not only cripples Big Cat Rescue’s work to track and stop the worst big cat abusers in our country, it also stymies other animal groups and advocates who rely on these records to battle puppy mills, horse abusers, and other bad actors who profit from the mistreatment of animals.
What was the USDA search tool?
The USDA is charged with upholding and enforcing the Animal Welfare Act [AWA] and Horse Protection Act [HPA], laws that impact the lives of millions of animals nationwide. The AWA is the only law that requires basic standards of care and treatment for captive big cats and other iconic species such as orcas, elephants, and bears. Inspectors enforce the law by conducting routine facility inspections and following up on public complaints.
Inspection reports and other records were made publicly available via an online search tool on the USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service [APHIS] website. Reports were usually available 28 days after the inspection was completed and remained available online for three years. Big Cat Rescue is among several groups that regularly checked these reports for instances of abuse and violations of the law. Inspection reports have helped us determine who owns big cats, where they are located, how they have been treated, and how effectively the USDA enforces the law. Without access to these reports, we are battling big cat abusers in the dark.
Animal Advocates Fight Back
The Humane Society of the United States [HSUS] was the first to fight back arguing that the blackout is a violation of a 2009 agreement they made with the USDA to make records public. Their action likely resulted in the USDA’s recent decision (as of writing in mid-February) to re-post a handful of research lab inspection reports on their website.
A week later the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine joined the Massachusetts SPCA, PETA, and Delcianna Winders (the Academic Fellow of the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program) in filing a complaint against the USDA to put the records back on the Internet, stating “the government should not be in the business of hiding animal abusers and lawbreakers from public scrutiny.”
Many other organizations whose missions have been thwarted by the blackout have created petitions calling on the USDA to reinstate the complete site. A formidable group of U.S. Representatives and Senators, from both sides of the aisle, submitted a joint letter to the USDA urging transparency. Even the Dan Ashe, the current CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums [AZA] and former Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS], has insisted that the records be made public. Plus a variety of notable media outlets highlighted the USDA’s record purge in front-page reports and on popular news segments.
Why were the records removed?
Animal abusers have a horse in this race. The HPA bans horse soring – the practice of using caustic chemicals and tightly nailed horseshoes to cause severe pain in a horse’s legs and hooves. To relieve the pain a horse will lift their leg. The result is an exaggerated gait, or high step, otherwise known as the “big lick”, a greatly sought after and rewarded trick in the “walking horse” competition world.
Last year horse owners who had been caught soring their horses sued the USDA. Among their arguments, they said the USDA violated their privacy by making their inspection reports publicly available online. The USDA then began a comprehensive review of their posting policies and is said to have removed records as a result of this review.
Over the past few years, Big Cat Rescue has collected inspection reports on 147 licensed big cat exploiters. In addition to demanding that the records be returned to the USDA website, we have made over 3,000 inspection reports and related records publicly available at thememoryhole2.org/blog/aphis. The USDA blackout is a victory for big cat abusers but rests assured, it will not stop us from ending the abuse of big cats in captivity!
Join us in demanding transparency from the USDA! Contact your representatives and demand that they help restore these records. Don’t know who they are? Find them at House.gov and Senate.gov. Contact the White House at www.whitehouse.gov/contact.
Stay up to date on the blackout and other big cat issues by signing up as a Big Cat Rescue AdvoCat at bigcatrescue.org/AdvoCat
Question For Viewers: What do YOU THINK? We would be untested in hearing from you. Is this issue important to you? Did you TAKE ACTION on the links above?
Keeper Rebecca: Zeus and Joseph seem to be getting along well as neighbors. Here they are relaxing in the evening and waiting for their dinner to arrive.
Keeper Honey: (Honey is also our On-site Gift Shop manager) I found three dedicated volunteers taking a short rest during projects: from left to right Barbara Frank, Marie Schoubert, and Lauren Grant all Senior Keepers working on Tiger Row. They are so cute. Hear no evil speak no evil see no evil…..
Just never know what is around the corner here at BCR.
Barbara and Lauren have been here for a really REALLY long time caring for the big cats they so deeply love. Lauren has also been here a long time but not quite as long as the other two. Lauren actually started out as an intern. She worked her way through the levels in our internship program. She fell so in love with the cats she came back to be a keeper and is now a Senior Keeper.
Lauren Buckingham May 29th: Aspen spent this morning supervising the volunteers working on macs enclosure. She hopes you all had a great memorial day! ??
Keeper Desmond: While the tigers really enjoyed our recent rain, the cougars were note quite as fond of it. Artemis is barely sticking her head out when the rain lightened up.
Susan: Doesn’t everyone wear fancy cat-ear tiaras to their staff meetings?
Susan Bass has been the Director of Public Relations at Big Cat Rescue since 2011. Susan’s primary role is expanding the reach of the sanctuary’s advocacy work and developing strategies and initiatives to bring the issues of big cats in captivity and in the wild to the forefront of the public and media. Susan has 17 years of public relations experience and has worked at major PR firms in New York City, Miami and Tampa.
Susan is a real voice for the cats!! All of us at Big Cat Rescue are very thankful to have her!!
Note From LaWanna: Susan is quite often who I go to when you all ask me questions I don’t know the answers for. She always has a great way of wording things and a great way of explaining things to make it easy to see the bigger picture on important cat issues. She is a great “Go To” person when there are cat issues. My typos drive her crazy so THANK YOU to each of you who find my typos before Susan does. Smile…
Every week BCR has a staff meeting where important issues are discussed, each department reports in on what has been accomplished and what is being worked on. The meetings are always packed full of serious info. The cats are discussed, and just about every issue relating to the cats, the sanctuary, and our efforts to achieve our mission and goals. Being such a dedicated and close knit group that is completely united for the common goals of BCR they do not forget to have fun along the way. This photo of Susan is an example. Purr-sonally, it is a great honor for me to get to work with Susan. She has taught me so much about big cat issues (and yes grammar, too, lol).
I think she was a little uncomfortable with this purr-sonal photo being posted but I just KNEW you all would LOVE IT!! So, give her big shout out in the comments!!
Carole’s Note: We had all just come in from the rain and were soaking wet and it was cold inside. I gave Susan a blanket because she was in short sleeves. We took one look at her and decided she needed a tiara. Susan was such a great sport about being dressed up by her co workers.
Big Cat Models ARE THE BEST!!!!! Laura is looking very sporty and ready for a fun day in her Joseph Lion King Women’s Scoop Neck Tank Top. She is ready for anything that comes her way today.
Big Cat Model Laura Lion: My Joseph Lion shirt is the best!!
Big Cat Model Katie: I absolutely love my new tote bag! Very high quality, sturdy, and lined inside. Plenty of room for my purse, a book and a water bottle or even workout clothes and shoes. And I love advertising Big Cat Rescue! As you can see Henry is a little cat that supports big cats and he approves as well! 🙂 Thank you for all of the daily updates and videos and especially for all you do – not only to rescue and take care of the cats for the remainder of their lives but to also advocate to put an end to the abuse. Thank you Big Cat Rescue! Katie Muhlhammer
This bag is available in purple, green, and pink. The purr-chase of this bag actually supports our upcoming project to support International Tiger Day to help save tigers and leopards in the wild. These funds will be given to the Corbett Foundation and will be used to construct fences around open wells in India to protect tigers, leopards, and other wild animals from falling to their deaths or drowning.
In reply to yesterday’s question (joke) “Can tigers have a Florida Driver’s License?” Viewer Wendy Jenks, says, “Of course they can!” She posted Priya Tiger’s as proof to back up her claim.
If you check yesterday’s Big Cat Updates you’ll see why the above was posted. Keepers had made some interesting Enrichment items for the cats.
Viewer Beth Parent: Ginger is so cute!!!
Viewer Beth Parent: Gorgeous Hoover
Here is a list of YouTube channels that feature videos of the cats here:
- Jamie Veronica: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsY6X3rUv8UlIUbrxNeu-Aw
- Susann https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUFOZiTvzKRvj-oVbzdByvg
- Ruxandra https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvCsjKptd1gM9BhfDkGQGNg
- Donna P: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcFbhMc8Sqr-8MreWuYr4Bg
- Shawna https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfl9S-vDPJIgjl8QpM6Aypw
- Cathy S https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6ynHBFLKj0BVnK5jo2gTnw
- Janie M https://www.youtube.com/user/donutgirl100
- Jaime T: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsY_oF0NhXc5OS8CcTaUi2A/videos
Carole is looking for a graphic artist who really gets what we are all about and would would like to help us with some graphics for shirts. If that is you or if you know someone like that, please have them email Carole at firstname.lastname@example.org
As per viewer suggestions, Quick Links now has it’s very own page http://bigcatrescue.org/quick-links/
Bookmarking it will help you find things quickly. That will come in handy for:
- Helping us answer questions on social media
- Finding answers to some of Carole’s Facebook Live questions