What antics could Big Cat Rescue (BCR) possibly be up to this time? It turns out they recently got their supporters to harass a zoo based solely on a statement of one person who was allegedly told a lion cub was constantly being attacked by its father. Is one person’s unsubstantiated claim enough to warrant an onslaught of cyber-bullying by ravenous Big Cat Rescue followers? Is tarnishing the name of a facility that specializes in providing a home for their exotic animals justified even though there’s no sufficient evidence to support any claims?
A couple days ago, Big Cat Rescue had their army of Facebook animal 'experts' harass a zoo called Living Treasures Wild Animal Park. The online attack began when BCR sent out an email stating,
“a one-year-old male lion cub at Living Treasures Wild Animal Park in Jones Mills, Pennsylvania [is] reportedly (...) being attacked repeatedly by his father. The cub is housed with both parents and has no way to escape the attacks.
The video that supposedly showed signs of something being wrong with the cub can be found HERE. (Be warned - the video is narrated by Carole Baskin)
We asked Living Treasures for their statement and we were told,
“We received a message from Susan Bass at BCR that she was sent a video of our lion cub and that our staff said he was attacked by his father. The lion cub, Thor, has never been molested or attacked by his father. We do not believe that any staff member would have made such a statement because it just isn't true. Both the mother and father are loving to Thor. He plays with both of them and lays affectionately beside them when he sleeps. He has never been bitten, clawed or even intimidated by his father. Thor was born with a mental disability that hampers his ability to move correctly. He is constantly monitored and under veterinary care. We have received a lot of hate mail and phone calls over their misrepresentation of the situation.”
Did we read that right? The cub in question was born with a disability that prevents it from maneuvering correctly. If what Living Treasures said is true, why did Big Cat Rescue get their supporters to bully them even though the cub wasn't in any real danger? Big Cat Rescue had been told that the cub had a disability so what was the point of sending out the emails? Again, is there enough evidence to justify the barrage of hate mail and harassing phone calls Living Treasures received?
To get a good idea as to the type of harassment a person or organization can expect from BCR supporters, here is a message we were sent by American Legion after BCR did what they are now doing to Living Treasures.
Due to the overwhelming harassment put forth by Big Cat Rescue's supporters, Living Treasures was forced to issue a public statement which included a well worded Facebook post.
Another interesting tidbit is the fact that in Big Cat Rescue's email they stated,
Big Cat Rescue asked Living Treasures if we could speak with their vet and review the cub’s medical records. We received no response.
Could it be that they received no response because Living Treasures was receiving non-stop phone calls and emails just like what happened to American Legion? Anyway, Living Treasures withholding documentation that can prove their innocents is damaging to their credibility but that's if we are to believe what Big Cat Rescue says. Well, according to a post Living Treasures made on Facebook, they did in fact provide the information Big Cat Rescue requested of them.
So if what Living Treasures said is true why didn't Big Cat Rescue issue an apology? That seems like the most reasonable thing they could do after they just wrongly attacked and harmed the reputation of Living Treasures.
In Big Cat Rescue's email they also stated,
An animal attacking another animal in a cage is a clear USDA violation of 9 C.F.R. s. 3.133, which requires that “animals housed in the same primary enclosure must be compatible. Animals shall not be housed near animals that interfere with their health or cause them discomfort.”
Since an animal attacking another animal in a cage is a USDA violation doesn't that mean Big Cat Rescue was in violation? A tiger named Keisha received two large lacerations likely from another tiger sharing the same cage. We say "likely" because Big Cat Rescue doesn't know for sure what caused the two large gashes. Those wounds clearly interfered with the tiger's health and caused discomfort. BCR separated the two tigers indefinitely just like what Living Treasures did with their lion cub.
One would think that would have been the end of the attack on Living Treasures but it wasn't. Due to the public outcry of BCR's supporters, Living Treasures was forced to separate the cub from its father and mother to appease their attackers but now it seems they're relocating the cub to an entirely different facility.
We're astounded that Carole Baskin would complain that Living Treasures is transferring their cub. The reason being, she is the one who caused them to separate the cub from its mother and father in the first place. She was also the one who brought much public scrutiny onto Living Treasures due to the misrepresentation of the cubs disability. So we can only speculate that Living Treasures took this course of action so they don't have to go through the whole ordeal all over again.
We would also like to point out another Facebook post made by Carole Baskin.
We find it odd that Carole Baskin would share that specific paragraph from the article she linked. First off, Carole Baskin was denied accreditation by the "highly credible and professional" American Zoological Association, now known as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. She then decided to be accredited by The Association Of Sanctuaries (TAOS) but even then she did not qualify as a sanctuary by their standards due to her commercial activity of exhibiting animals. Carole Baskin was a member of the board of directors for The Association Of Sanctuaries. She is now accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) which was helped formed by The Association Of Sanctuaries. Under GFAS' standards, BCR can finally qualify as a sanctuary and still participate in commercial activity by exhibiting their cats. Even facilities accredited by GFAS aren't without their flaws. A fatal mauling took place at this sanctuary but they're still accredited by GFAS. The next time Big Cat Rescue "boasts of its affiliation with the" Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, remember, the founder/CEO of BCR was a member of the board of directors of the organization that pushed for the formation of GFAS.
After all that transpired, Melissa Hoffman, the woman who recorded the lion cub and complained to Big Cat Rescue, says she has nothing bad to say about Living Treasure and will visit again.
We leave you with this statement from one of our followers about their experience at Living Treasures.
The Big Cat area has been enclosed in the last couple of years. Giving the cats more privacy and safety. The area they are enclosed in is really nice & clean. There are things for them to jump up on, water pools to get into, etc.
(Big Cat Rescue Watch does not support or disapprove of Living Treasures Wild Animal Park. We do, however, take every opportunity to expose Big Cat Rescue and its CEO/Founder)