On Friday, Big Cat Rescue decided to comment on a viral video that was making its rounds these past couple of days in which a lion managed to hold its ground in a game of tug-of-war with three WWE wrestlers. A crowd of onlookers watched as Fabian Aichner, Killian Dain and Ricochet took on a 2 ½ year female lion cub named Axelle in a friendly game of tug-of-war.
The spectacle took place at the newly renovated lion exhibit at the San Antonio Zoo, a facility that’s accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Zoological Association of America, and Humane Certified by American Humane.
Redditors were quick to point out that the lion likely had an unfair advantage due to the angle in which it was pulling. To be fair, it is three-on-one. Anyway, that's not the important development.
In a Facebook post regarding the video, Big Cat Rescue wrote, “There is an easy way to decide if a wild cat is being exploited/ used as entertainment or not. Ask yourself: Is the cat doing something they would normally do in their natural environment? If not - such as tug-of-war with humans - then it's exploitation.”
What they said can easily be applied to their own roadside attraction.
Last Wednesday, Big Cat Rescue announced that Cameron, one of their male lions, would be undergoing a medical evaluation to determine whether it was time for him to be euthanized due to his declining health (emphasis added):
A very unfortunate situation isn’t it? Well, Jamie Veronica, President of Big Cat Rescue, thought it was a good idea to utilize the time Cameron was sedated for his medical procedure to create paw paintings.
In a Facebook post that seems almost too cheerful considering the circumstances, Big Cat Rescue revealed their new merchandise that features Cameron’s paw print.
What is more exploitive, a zoo allowing their lion cub to willingly pull on a rope or a roadside zoo utilizing the sedated body of one of their dying animals to sell merchandise? In both cases a big cat is doing something it wouldn’t normally do in the wild.
Still not convinced? Well, there’s the time Big Cat Rescue antagonized their cats with mirrors for a Youtube video. Another time when they had their cats chasing after a laser pointer for a Youtube video. And don’t forget the time they had a tiger tear open a box to reveal the gender of one of their worker’s baby. Take your pick.
All of those videos are perfect examples of Big Cat Rescue exploiting their cats for people’s entertainment by having them do things they wouldn’t do in the wild. Not to mention, they’re also benefiting monetarily through those types of Youtube videos. In their 2017 annual report, they posted a screenshot from their Youtube account manager that showed their estimated revenue for that year reaching $81,000.
You probably had enough of us proving why they’re a hypocritical roadside zoo. So allow us to show you comments made by some of their own supporters that also had a problem with their Facebook post.
Big Cat Rescue has quite a lot of experience with cats ingesting foreign objects. Back in 1998, a cougar named Fleetwood almost died due to eating a harness Carole Baskin, CEO and Founder of Big Cat Rescue, had left on it. The cougar's intestines were laced and permeated with purple nylon and ruptured where the harness buckle had burst through its intestinal wall, causing massive internal bleeding.
As for breaking a tooth, maybe Big Cat Rescue should've shown the same concern back when they were loading up a tiger to take back to their facility. The video below shows how a rope was put around a tiger's neck and pulled so hard that it ended up slamming right into the metal bars of the transport cage.
Who do you think knows more when it comes to caring for exotic cats, a zoo that's accredited by organizations that accredit the best zoos in America or a "sanctuary" that is accredited by an organization that has mostly accredited facilities caring for horses and other barnyard animals?