Written by Jennifer OConnor
Nearly 10 years after she
was liberated from the sweltering hell of a Mexican circus, Alaska, the bear who was the
impetus for the eventual seizure of all seven bears held captive by the Suarez Bros. Circus, has died at the Maryland
Zoo in Baltimore. Estimated to be in her late 20s—old age for a polar
bear—Alaska was euthanized because of kidney failure.
It almost sounds like an Onion spoof—polar bears in a Mexican circus. But it was no joke.
The Suarez Bros. Circus—which, coincidentally, is in the news this week after a
handler was mauled to
death by a tiger—was hauling the dejected bears around Mexico and the
Caribbean in cramped cages without access to water for swimming, something that
polar bears desperately crave. A whistleblower leaked videotape showing the
overheated bears pacing in small cages and panting constantly. The bears where
struck and whipped in order to force them to perform ridiculous tricks.
PETA dug into the bears' backgrounds and
uncovered evidence indicating that Alaska may not have been born at Zoo Atlanta,
as the circus had claimed on her import application. After we reported our
suspicions to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the service used DNA
testing to prove conclusively that Alaska's identity had been "stolen,"
a violation of federal law. The FWS fined the circus $120,000 and sent Alaska
to the Maryland Zoo, where she lived with fellow polar bears Magnet and Anoki.
When Alaska first arrived
at the zoo, she was sick, lethargic, filthy, and, her caretakers soon learned,
deaf. Free at last from the cramped cage, she explored her surroundings and
swam in a pool for the first time in years. Rancid scraps were
replaced with wholesome, healthy food. There were no more frightening and
confusing tricks. Alaska's battered body and broken spirit began to heal.
Alaska is an inspiring example
of how animals can recover from years of deprivation if given the opportunity.
Her courage and dignity should stand as testament to all the animals whose
health and sanity are sacrificed in the name of "entertainment" in circuses. May she rest in peace.
Written by PETA
Update: A Louisiana district judge has denied a motion
for a new trial requested by the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, which paves the
way for Tony to be moved. We are appealing to the truck stop's owner,
Michael Sandlin, not to transfer Tony to G.W. Exotics, a
notorious roadside zoo
The blog below was originally posted November 3, 2011
After years of campaigning by PETA and many other groups and
individuals and a lawsuit by the Animal Legal Defense Fund,
a Louisiana court
has finally ordered that the
Tiger Truck Stop
must stop keeping Tony the tiger in a barren, cramped cage at a gas station on
a busy interstate highway.
Owner Michael Sandlin's permit to keep the last remaining
tiger, Tony, was ordered
to be revoked after
a court ruled that it was illegally issued in the first place, and PETA has
renewed our offer to Sandlin to help place Tony in a reputable sanctuary.
Tony has been caged and used as a tourist attraction for
more than 10 years. He deserves the chance at last to roam in an enclosure that is measured in
acres instead of in feet and inches. Please click here to send a polite note
to Michael Sandlin asking him to retire Tony to a safe and reputable sanctuary
and not to another roadside zoo or display.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
You'd think that after a Connecticut woman's face was ripped off by her friend's "pet" chimpanzee—or after a toddler was strangled to death by her family's python and a 9-year-old girl was mauled to death by her stepfather's pet tiger—that lawmakers would step in and put an end to the carnage.
Well, they're about to, at least in Oregon: Starting in January, the state will no longer issue new permits for exotic animals—including big cats, nonhuman primates, crocodiles, and most bears—and existing permits will expire if the animal dies or is sold.
This is a good first step, but more needs to be done. Keeping tigers, reptiles, and bears in cages is like lighting a fuse and pretending that it won't go off. It's time for federal lawmakers to put a stop to it once and for all. Please contact our Action Team to request materials that can help you start a campaign to ban the keeping of exotic animals as "pets" in your area.
Written by Paula Moore
Rumors that Russell Brand presented his wife, Katy Perry, with a tiger as a wedding present have been exaggerated, according to the bridegroom himself.
"I'm a vegetarian, you don't give people tigers, it's stupid, it's dangerous, and the tigers don't like it," he told ITV's Loose Women.
Thanks for clearing that up, Russell. So for all of you who are planning to attend a wedding in the near future, you can stop worrying about how to wrap up a 500-pound cat. Sponsoring a bullock through Animal Rahat, however, is still the perfect gift for any occasion. Written by Alisa Mullins
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.