I’ve been too upset to even begin to talk about this story, and I’m not sure I can control my emotions even several days after the fact. But here we go.
There is absolutely no way on earth anyone will convince me that THIS was necessary:
There’s so much wrong with this story. Let’s start with the news media, which repeatedly reported that the animals “escaped.” No, they didn’t. They were let loose from their enclosures by a mentally disturbed person who’d just gotten out of federal prison on — of course — illegal firearms charges. Most of them never even left the Zanesville Ohio property where they’d lived (and apparently been abused) for years.
And let’s get our terminology straight. This was not a zoo. It was an animal farm. Yeah, there’s a difference.
Let’s also stop pretending that these animals were a threat to anyone:
Most of the big cats and bears were declawed and had been bottle-fed by Thompson and his wife since the animals were babies, said Judy Hatfield, a family friend who visited the farm many times and said it wasn’t unusual to have a monkey jump on your lap.
I’m trying to understand how these animals could be a threat when most of them hadn’t even left the property:
At least 49 had been killed by Wednesday afternoon, most of them within 500 yards of their pens, including 17 lions and at least one animal described as a big cat that was hit by a car as it tried to cross a street. It was later euthanized by the authorities.
So let’s get this straight: we have a bunch of declawed animals wandering outside their pens who have lived in captivity all of their lives. And Jack Hanna says the slaughter was absolutely necessary? Really? You know what, Jack Hanna? STFU you senile old crank. You were really cute with that baby wombat on the Carson show 30 years ago but let’s just leave it there.
Here’s a little-known fact: back in the ’70s Hanna had a petting zoo in Knoxville, TN, where a 3-year-old boy got mauled by a lion. That’s a tragedy, and it’s understandable that Hanna errs on the side of caution as a result. In his official capacity as a media personality (he is not a zoologist, he holds no PhD or advanced degrees), Hanna also spent a lifetime trying to undo the damage done by Walt Disney, whom we have to thank for all sorts of stupid human/wild animal interactions every year. Hanna is right, wild animals are not cute, they’re not pets or toys or funny photo ops. They’re dangerous. I get that.
But you will never convince me that most of those animals in Ohio needed to be destroyed. Declawed tigers wandering outside their pens? Nope. Not buying it.
You know what I think we have here? A bunch of trigger-happy redneck yahoos thrilled at the chance to go big game hunting without having to leave Muskingum County. Yeehaw.
Here’s a news story that really pisses me off:
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s governor promised Friday to step up enforcement of the state’s existing animal laws and pursue new ones to limit private ownership of dangerous animals.
Oh, NOW you’re going all in with the enforcement thing. Thanks a lot, asshole. A little too late for 1% of the world’s Bengal tiger population, though.
I hope Ohio does toughen its exotic animal laws — and so should Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. Apparently there are only five states in the U.S. which don’t regulate the private ownership of exotic animals. We’re all having this teachable moment here and maybe some laws will be toughened and other ones will be enforced. This is how most regulatory laws are born, after all — out of tragedy.
But you know what? Bet you anything in 10-15 years some Teanut asshole will come out complaining about “government overreach” and “the long arm of fascism” because he or she can’t keep a pet tiger. Just you wait.