2003 February News

News from February, 2003
DawnWatch: Zoo surplus animal dumping on cover of San Francisco Chronicle

DawnWatch: Zoo surplus animal dumping on cover of San Francisco Chronicle

Last November, the National Enquirer covered the dumping of surplus zoo animals to horrendous fates such as death on hunting ranches. Some people felt the story was unreliable given the magazine in which it appeared.

Today, Sunday, February 23, a similar story is on the cover of the San Francisco Chronicle. It is reliable. In his story headed, “Uproar over Internet market for zoo animals,” Julian Guthrie tells us:

“Since the 1970s, zoos have declared thousands of lions, tigers, bears and other creatures ‘surplus’ because of over-breeding, inadequate funding or simply because the animals failed to wow visitors as they once did. Some zoos have sold the animals to brokers, who funnel them to breeders, hunting ranches, research facilities, circuses, auctions or individuals looking for the latest exotic pet. But in recent years, experts say, the Internet has brought the industry in from the wild — and right into the living room.”

We hear from Pat Hoctor, a “self-professed animal lover,” who “formerly worked as a trapper and transporter of exotic animals, and has raised about 200 lion cubs and 400 cougar cubs.” He says that he is sure that some of his animals have come to “bad ends” though he guesses that the majority didn’t. 

We also hear from Pat Derby, “a former animal trainer in Hollywood who runs the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuaries in Northern California.”  She says, “When I started in this business, the problem of exotic animals as pets and the whole pet trade was so minor. It could have been solved back then. Now, we could take our sanctuaries and fill them up next week and build another one and another one and another one. We have to go to the root of the problem.”

 The root of the problem is that non human animals are considered to be things, property, to be captured or bred, bought and sold, locked up or displayed, for human amusement. This front page story offers us a perfect opportunity for letters to the editor against the use of animals for human entertainment. You can read the whole detailed article here: ZOO Dumping

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