This 35 minute video starts with an arson attack on Animal Coalition of Tampa where three cats were killed and a wonderful, low cost clinic was burned down. Please donate at ACTampa.org
Then there is some of the last video of China Doll Tiger after her brain event, some sad video of Shere Khan Tiger who misses her and is dealing with his own age related issues, some happy footage of Bengali Tiger rolling in the sun soaked lawn, Max Bobcat stalking birds, volunteers de worming cats, my Dad talking about our equipment that is breaking down and needs replacing and Easter festivities at Big Cat Rescue for volunteers and interns. #ThroughGlass
Ban Circus Acts w/ Wild Animals in Ketchum Idaho
To: The City of Ketchum, Idaho
Re: Circus Acts That Use Wild Animals
Big Cat Rescue commends the students who have brought this issue before the City of Ketchum and the applauds the legal counsel, Stephanie Bonney, for speaking up against animal abuse. No traveling act can provide humane care to exotic cats by the very nature of the traveling involved and the training necessary to make a regal animal like a tiger do stupid pet tricks for the amusement of uneducated viewers.
The following letter was written by me and published in the Orlando Sentinel a decade ago.
When people look beyond their wants and desires, they will have pity for the creatures.
Posted October 31, 2003
By definition, inhumane is "lacking and reflecting lack of pity or compassion." To force one's will upon another for no other reason than to satisfy our own desire to be amused, or our own gain, is to lack pity or compassion.
We are the world's largest big-cat rescue, with more than 170 exotic cats, and 80 percent of them were from the entertainment industry and former pets.
We do something called operant conditioning, in which the cat is enticed to do things that we need for the animal's management, such as to come lie against the wire so that we can check its ears, or to open its mouth so we can check its teeth. It is a training method that most circus acts purport to use that has no form of punishment but gives a small food reward if the cat does the requested performance on command.
I would be the first one to say that these cats shouldn't be in cages and in need of medical care, but that is another day's debate. The learning of the tricks is not the heart of the issue. Most people are not aware that traveling acts are frequently governed only by USDA regulations stating that the cage need be large enough only for the animal to stand up and turn around and that the cat cannot be kept in something smaller than that for more than 60 days. But each time the cat is taken into the circus ring, the 60-day clock starts over again. Many of the cats who come to us have permanent scars on their noses, hips and shoulders from hitting the sides of their tiny enclosures every time they try to move.
The argument is often made that performing animals get fed regularly and get medical attention and a home for life (or until they won't perform anymore), but that would define life in prison to us. Not too many of us would think ourselves fortunate to be born and bred into a life of confinement and a life of having to bend our wills to that of our oppressor. Cats are the top predator and the most willful of all animals. That is why we are so awed by them and why so many seek to prove themselves superior by being able to command an animal far larger and more powerful.
It is easy to point at circuses and say that they are the bad guys, but it is all a matter of supply and demand. When people become enlightened they will see that every choice we make has an impact on the world around us, and that impact will be good or bad based upon the choice we make.
Socrates said, "A life unexamined is not worth living." When people truly examine their motives about why they want to see a magnificent animal in a cage or being made to perform, then their choices will become more compassionate. When people look beyond their own wants and desires and seek out the truth about the living conditions of these animals when they are not in front of the public, then they will have pity for the creatures.
People are getting smarter, and they are becoming more aware. I truly believe that 20 years from now people will look back on this controversial question of today and wonder how anyone could have thought that treating animals this way was humane.
City by city, county by county, state by state and country by country we are banning traveling acts that use wild animals.