Owning Exotic Animals

On May 16 CBS This Morning broke news of another Humane Society of the United States undercover investigation of one of largest private owners of tigers in the nation – GW Exotic Animal Park in central Oklahoma.  This facility has as many as 200 tigers and more than 1,000 other animals. 

It’s not a professionally run facility, has no legitimate accreditation or technical staff, and could be a tragedy waiting to happen for visitors, the animals, as well as the surrounding community.  It’s a mix of what CBS calls “a roadside menagerie and a petting zoo, masquerading as a rescue operation and conservation center” and could be much worse than what happened last fall in Zanesville, Ohio.

The HSUS undercover investigation found breeding of tigers, sales of tigers to substandard facilities, dangerous interactions between children and young tigers, and other illegal practices.

The facility is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the deaths of 23 tiger cubs form 2009-2010 and it’s owner continues to breed tigers as well as hybrids. During the HSUS investigation, five tigers died.

In fact, the owner charged that the HSUS manufactured an incident where a child was knocked down and scratched by a juvenile tiger at GW Exotics and he openly threatened that if anyone tries to take his animals “it would be another Waco”.

Congress is currently considering legislation to ban breeding of big cats for private ownership.

This is scary.


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