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CARE Tour - 1

Compassion for Animals Road Expeditions #1

Houston City Council transcript

2004-02-17

Ms. Janice Blue, 1708 Rosewood, Houston, Texas 77004 (713-522-6899) appeared and stated that Mr. Tillman Fertitta wanted to add live tigers to his Downtown Aquarium complex; that she read the white tigers were on order but some cubs were not yet born; that she could not believe he would make spectacles of such magnificent animals; that tigers belonged in the wild and not in cages and white tigers could not survive in the wild but should not be bred just for entertainment purposes. Mayor White, Council Members Galloway and Sekula-Gibbs absent. Mayor Pro Tem Alvarado presiding.

Miss Anna Nugent, 1907 North Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77098 (713-522-4059) appeared and stated that she was in third grade and had been studying tigers about 2-1/2 years and did not think they should be used for entertainment and kept in cages, but instead should be left in the wild where they belonged; and if they were kept in cages they needed a professional to take care of them. Council Members Galloway and Sekula-Gibbs absent.

Upon questions by Council Member Khan, Ms. Blue stated that you could learn nothing about tigers from watching them in cages and it was absolutely and morally wrong. Council Member Galloway absent.
Upon questions by Council Member Garcia, Miss Nugent stated that tigers did not like being in cages and their lives would be better if left where they belonged. Council Member Garcia thanked Miss Nugent for coming to Council and expressing her concerns. Council Members Galloway and Ellis absent.

Council Member Edwards thanked Miss Nugent for being committed enough to come today. Council Members Galloway and Ellis absent.
Council Member Alvarado stated that she understood the white tigers were not in the wild and in fact were bred; and Ms. Blue stated that it was just horrible, but Mr. Marr was a tiger preservationist and could answer questions even better than she. Council Members Galloway and Ellis absent.

Mr. Cory Davis, 1094 Lampath, Kelowna, British Columbia V1C1N2 (216-346-0946) appeared and stated that he was from Canada, traveling the United States and Mr. Fertitta’s restaurant was very nice but tigers were endangered and the white tigers he wanted to purchase were being bred for his use; that there were only about 3,500 tigers left and it was because of the same point of view that they were objects; that he heard the gentleman say he was doing this for conservation of tigers, but it would do nothing for conservation because people would only think of them as objects. Council Members Galloway and Ellis absent.

Mr. Anthony Marr, 4118 W. 11th Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6R2L6 (216-346-0946) appeared and stated that he was an international tiger preservationist specializing in the Bengal tiger; that Mr. Fertitta’s plan to install white tigers did not come down as tiger conservation for several reasons; that white tigers were of no conservation value whatsoever; that he had never seen one in a natural habitat and it was because it was poorly camouflaged and could not catch prey, to him the only reason to keep a tiger in captivity would be to try and protect its gene pool and keep them from becoming extinct, but white tigers were without that value; that breeding of white tigers was also very unethical as the white fur gene was recessive and for them to have white pups you had to inbreed and sometimes as closely as parent to cub and among siblings and because of the deliberate inbreeding they were full of genetic defects and deformities in the body; that the bred tigers which were not bought to be caged would be sold for hunting and shot point blank; that the entire business was onerous and carried no ethical or conservation merit. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent.

Upon questions by Council Member Alvarado, Mr. Marr stated that up to this point no tiger had so far been proven capable of being rehabilitated back into the wild. Council Members Galloway, Holm and Ellis absent.

Council Member Sekula-Gibbs stated that some thought the white tiger was beautiful and they bred them for their rarity and beauty and it would bring people to come and see; that in the natural state they could not survive but it was giving a life it would not normally have. Council Members Galloway, Garcia and Ellis absent.

Council Member Quan moved that the rules be suspended for the purpose of continuing discussion by Council relating to tigers, seconded by Council Member Sekula-Gibbs. All voting aye. Nays none. Council Members Galloway, Garcia and Ellis absent. MOTION 2004-0177 ADOPTED

Upon questions by Council Member Goldberg, Mr. Marr stated that some zoos came in a wide range with some having wide motes and open spaces and so there were good and bad zoos; that in general he opposed human beings deriving pleasure from the suffering of animals. Council Members Lawrence, Galloway, Garcia, Ellis and Berry absent.

Upon questions by Council Member Quan, Mr. Marr stated that even releasing the yellow tiger into the wild had not been successful because they did not know how to hunt, raise babies or deal with local tigers; that if a tiger happened to be born in captivity out of a natural procedure it would be more humane to raise in captivity but that was the lesser of two evils, but in a puppy mill. Council Members Galloway, Holm, Garcia and Ellis absent.

Council Member Quan moved that the rules be suspended for the purpose of continuing discussion by Council relating to tigers, seconded by Council Member Edwards. All voting aye. Nays none. Council Members Galloway, Holm, Garcia and Ellis absent. MOTION 2004-0178 ADOPTED

Upon questions by Council Member Edwards, Mr. Marr stated that white tigers were purposely bred to be white; that if you naturally bred 100 tigers none would be white the percentage was so low and then when one was born he could be raised until about 2-1/2 when they would then have to leave and would die; that he had never seen a white tiger in the wild in all his years and it was a fair statement to say if you saw a white tiger it was bred to be so. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent

Council Member Berry encouraged Mr. Marr to visit the Houston Zoo; and upon questions, Mr. Marr stated that his primary reason for being present today was that he was opposed to any captivity of animals. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent

Mr. James Prappas, 410 Bagby, Houston, Texas 77002 (713-515-9395) appeared and stated that he was director of animal operations at Landry’s Restaurants, Inc. with 23 years in animal care, conservation and research and he was aware of Mr. Marr’s work and it was significant; that Landry’s was dedicated to providing the best environment for their animals and all their staff was involved in conservation efforts; that AZA recognized Landry’s as a professional well run organization and knew they could give animals the best possible care and maintenance and they did participate in AZA’s goals. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent

Council Member Garcia moved that the rules be suspended for the purpose of extending time for Mr. James Prappas to speak, seconded by Council Member Alvarado. All voting aye. Nays none. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent. MOTION 2004-0179 ADOPTED

Mr. Prappas stated that without abilities to go to countries and support them financially there would not be Bengal tigers, etc., for Mr. Marr to conduct research on to understand how to save them if not for captivity. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent

Upon questions by Council Member Lawrence, Mr. Prappas stated that their exhibits were being designed as an attachment to the building and by AZA members; that they did not do caging it was more of an emerging and would be top notch quality. Council Member Lawrence stated that once it was designed she would like it sent to her office. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent

Upon questions by Council Member Edwards, Mr. Prappas stated that AZA was Association for Zoos and Aquariums; that they wanted the white tigers as they were captivating and they felt it would generate excitement; that there would not be a separate fee it was added on to what the existing exhibit was; that they did allow one HISD school each day to attend free. Council Member Edwards stated that he had made a previous statement that third world countries had no interest in caring; and upon questions, Mr. Prappas stated that the only tigers existing in the U. S. would be in private breeders hands or zoos, but what he said was most endangered species exist in countries which were incapable of educating their public properly to manage their resources and so through many programs in AZA they sent people to participate in classrooms and in building schools and in getting them interested; that many in Kenya and many wildlife refugees were supported by tourism which generated here in the United States and Great Britain where the money went to help pay authorities; and Council Member Edwards stated that she did not know he was an expert on Kenya’s ability to… on whether or not they wanted to educate their children but appreciated his comments Council Members Galloway, Holm, Sekula-Gibbs and Berry absent.
 

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