This is something that I have mixed feelings about, and with all the recent animal attacks on trainers and the subsequent uproar, I decided to introduce the topic to this column.
I just watched a video clip on CNN Headline news about a recent lion attack on a trainer at the MGM Hotel and Casino that was caught on video. The story headline was ‘Are Humans to Blame for Lion Attack?’
Ryan Huling, Senior Campaign Coordinator for PETA, calls captive wild animals ‘ticking time bombs that are a danger to themselves and to humans.’ Caged animals sometimes exhibit frustration by self-mutilation, excessive pacing and lashing out at their trainers. Some other recent attacks on trainers were the white tiger attack on Roy Horn during the popular Siegfried & Roy Vegas show, and the attack on a popular trainer by the killer whale at Sea World. I think ‘killer whale’ might have been a clue as to the true nature of these whales and maybe they should be left in the wild.
Think about it. These wild animals like lions, bears, tigers, killer whales, chimpanzees and elephants are used to roaming the land free to hunt and mate. Then they are captured and kept in cages much smaller than the lands they are used to roaming. I’m sure humans that capture, raise and train these wild animals have good intentions, but that doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do. Who is benefiting from this? I doubt the animals are. It’s humans that benefit from captive animals because they get to see them performing and/or in a setting they would not normally get to view wild animals. We humans support this by paying money to go see wild animals at zoos, theme parks, circuses and Las Vegas casinos.
I have been to the zoo and I will admit that I enjoyed getting to see exotic animals up close, but a part of me felt sorry for them. How would you feel about being imprisoned for others to enjoy? In fact, I think there was a Twilight Zone episode about this with humans caged in their environment for the enjoyment of others. A zoo is bad enough, but what if you were forced to perform as entertainment for others?
Any thoughts on this?
For more information on this topic, visit: http://www.peta.org/