As many of you may recall, we wrote an article back in December covering a livestream that showed one of Big Cat Rescue’s staff members using a stick to prod a reluctant tiger named Priya out of a transport cage. Fast forward to August 4th, a similar incident involving a bobcat was captured on a Facebook livestream.
On August 11th, a concerned individual sent us a link to a livestream showing Cooper, a barely 4 month old bobcat set to be rehabilitated and released into the wild, being repeatedly harassed with a stick wielded by Jamie Veronica, President of Big Cat Rescue. The entire ordeal was filmed by Carole Baskin, CEO and Founder of Big Cat Rescue and the mother of Jamie.
Could you imagine the response from animal rights activists if employees at a zoological facility like SeaWorld were filmed treating one of the animals in their rehabilitation program the same way Jamie was treating the bobcat?
What sets this circumstance apart from the previous one involving Priya is the fact that Carole Baskin was overlooking the situation this time around. They were also trying to force Cooper into a carrier while Priya on the other hand, was being forced to leave a transport cage.
We managed to have a short conversation with Big Cat Rescue on Facebook around the time of the first incident. Unfortunately, the creator of the comment thread decided to delete their original post that contained our discussion, however, we did manage to grab screenshots.
Responding to our inquiries regarding the treatment of Priya, Big Cat Rescue said (emphasis added):
If using a stick to poke a cat is only used in “rare occasions” what warranted Cooper to receive the treatment he did? He was only being moved from their clinic area to an outdoor cage which is something Big Cat Rescue regularly does for their other feline residents. So is it reasonable to conclude that using a stick to prod a cat is a common practice at Big Cat Rescue since they used that method on such a routine task?
Just like the prior incident involving Priya, some of Big Cat Rescue’s fans were concerned about the treatment of Cooper as well.
Replying to one of their fans worried about the use of a stick, Big Cat Rescue said:
Using Big Cat Rescue’s logic, it’s acceptable to use a stick to force a cat into doing what you want just as long as you gently harass it with the stick. Sounds pretty ridiculous if we do say so ourselves, especially since it's coming from a “sanctuary” that would most likely criticize any other facility for doing the same thing.
In our earlier report about the treatment of Priya, we discovered that Big Cat Rescue considers poking a cat to be abuse. In a Facebook comment directed at one of their fans, Big Cat Rescue said (emphasis added):
Why is Big Cat Rescue allowing their own staff members to maneuver cats using sticks when they consider the action of poking a cat to be abuse?
We’re patiently waiting for their response which will likely be full of excuses and disparaging remarks against their critics.