Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 8 December 2003 Issue
Peta Remarks about the recent attack of Roy Horn by a tiger.
(SIEGFRIED & ROY - ON WOMEN AND TIGERS!!!)
Editors note: We at AIP wish Roy a complete recovery and hope he no longer uses tigers or other animals as entertainment commodities)
Despite their claims to be in the vanguard of conservation,
Siegfried & Roy's tigers are not being bred for the sake of conservation
- white tigers are not endangered - they're not even considered a species. All captive white tigers are inbred and many suffer from serious congenital defects.
The American Zoo and Aquarium Association's
Tiger Species Survival Plan condemns the breeding of white tigers because it serves no conservation purpose.
They are simply bred to bring in money-spending curiosity seekers, ie Vegas tourists. While Siegfried & Roy have always said great things about conservation (and done some things too), their show runs totally contrary to the message. You know that a bright loud stage is not an exotic animals' natural habitat.
What's more, their show is produced by Kenneth Feld - owner of Ringling Bros, with a very, very long, horrible record of animal cruelty across the country.
As is often the case in these incidents, this tiger was beaten by stagehands and sprayed with a fire extinguisher, as have many big cats (at least 54 have been killed because they've attacked someone or escaped and posed a danger). These animals are not performers and simply should not be put in harm's way, or allowed to pose a risk to the public. Yesterday, we asked the USDA to ban all big cat acts due to the threat to the public's safety. Also yesterday a fair in Texas closed it's big cat exhibit over public safety fears.
While Siegfried & Roy are not a traditional circus act, they absolutely do make their tigers perform tricks on command that can only be accomplished through dominance-style training. Walking on leashes, lying down, sitting up, perching on pedestals--these are all circus tricks. In the case of Siegfried & Roy, they are simply performing on a casino stage instead of a circus ring. In an August 2000 Esquire feature, Roy was quoted as saying, "Women and tigers are exactly alike. They have the same temperament, emotions, and vulnerabilities. They must be spoken to
softly--but it doesn't hurt to carry a big stick just in case."
When not performing, these animals are stored in a totally artificial environment in cramped cages. In last week's edition of Nature, they reported on a study that was conducted by biologists from Oxford University that concluded that tigers do so poorly in captivity that zoos/exhibits should stop keeping them altogether. A typical zoo enclosure is 18,000 times smaller than a tiger's natural roaming range.
It's jail, with no hope for parole, and they are deprived of all that is natural to them.
Tigers are not the only animals mistreated by Siegfried & Roy. For their solitary elephant Gildah, isolation is the bitter reality of daily life.
Gildah is deprived of a female elephant's most basic need, the companionship of other elephants - animal behaviorists are mortified at the situation. We have written to them about her pleading for them to retire her to a sanctuary, but they refuse. For them, she's yet another circus curiosity whose own very natural needs, much like those you and I
have, are ignored so they can get on with the show. "
The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites, or women for men.
(Alice Walker "The Color Purple")
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