The infamous – and now almost cult- series ‘Tiger King’ has been causing quite a stir online and offline too. The show which explores the bizarre life of Joe Exotic and a handful of other dubious characters – all of whom specialise in big cat breeding and keeping these tigers captive their entire life. Least we forget the countless slaughtered clubs who are used for petting and expensive photos until they get too old and become a financial liability and are discarded.
Anyway, animal abuse aside, the show was major hit generating endless memes and discussions surrounding the mysterious disappearance of Carol Baskin’s husband. But I wonder if it really ‘sunk in’ for the majority of viewers that hundreds of Americans are breeding big cats in captivity, subjecting them to life in enclosures (I’m sure you know what that must feel like by now, imagine being quarantined from the day you’re born) for entertainment and sale. It’s alarming to think more tigers are living in captivity right now in the USA then there are tigers living in the wild.
A growing list of celebrities agree – these beautiful beasts don’t belong enclosed, they aren’t house-cats and we don’t have the right to dictate the life of a being who can’t choose for itself, who can’t just walk out and leave, or say stop or no! The cringy docuseries has encouraged a wave of celebrities to take the conversation to US congress.
A long list of celebrities including; Joaquin Phoenix, Steve Aoki, Olivia Wilde, Christopher Walken, Iggy Pop, Glenn Close, Nikki Reed, Mena Suvari, Jared Letto and many more have signed an open letter showing their support for the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which bans direct public contact, and dangerous public interactions with big cats such as cub petting along with private ownership and breeding.
For the record no one should keep these animals in cages like this. Not ok. We need to protect exotic / endangered animals and their wild habitats @WWF
— JARED LETO (@JaredLeto) March 27, 2020
The letter was drafted by Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Director of the 2013 documentary Blackfish) in partnership with the Animal Legal Defense Fund and has been gaining moment since the series aired.
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“Private owners and operations that breed tigers forcefully separate newborn cubs from their mothers – sometimes within minutes of birth – to be used in expensive photo opportunities with tourists,” the open letter reads. “Because cubs can only be ‘handled’ for a few months, drugging tigers to be compliant and docile is commonplace. When they get too old and their existence is no longer profitable, they are often irresponsibly sold into the pet trade or killed.”
The act was first proposed in 2019, but received little traction, until now. Discover the full list of celebs who have signed the open letter/petition right and cast your signature too, right here.