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January 11, 2010

(following up on this post from last week in which I noted that the tiger had reached the top of the UN’s list of endangered animals)

Yesterday, an Ontario man was killed by a tiger that he kept on his property. The Canadian Press ran with this headline:

Ontario man who owned exotic animals mauled to death by 300 kg pet tiger

which unfortunately has picked up by several other outlets. Now, I’ve written lots of crappy headlines; it happens. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that I don’t think it’s possible for a tiger to be defined as a ‘pet’. Pets are domesticated animals, whereas wild animals are wild. It remains to be seen what the fate of the tiger will be, whether it be put down for acting all tiger-like or sent someplace where tigers can be tigers. Given that tigers are endangered species, one hopes the latter.

And here’s Chris Rock, saying it much better:

I’ve already stated that exotic animals, such as tigers, make really, really awful items of ownership. The late Mr. Buwalda was president of the Canadian Exotic Animal Owner’s Association, so he obviously disagreed. My opposition is based mostly because the exotic pet trade is driving numerous species towards extinction; the danger of such pets to their owners is another factor, though it’s really none of my concern.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2010 8:58 pm

    I’m guilty of enjoying some schadenfreude here. The township, after a child on a school tour was mauled by one of Mr Buwalda’s tigers, passed a bylaw against owning exotic animals. Mr Buwalda appealed the bylaw and had it overturned.

    • January 12, 2010 8:38 pm

      The story is incredibly frustrating, from how long it went on (despite the injured child and the bylaw) to how it ended. A little schadenfreude may be unavoidable, but… the man’s dead, the facts speak for themselves.

      One just hopes that there is greater consensus over whether or not it’s a good idea to keep big cats as personal property. It’s not.

  2. January 18, 2010 6:25 pm

    Umm…how could private ownership drive a species to extinction? That makes no sense. Private Ownership definitely promotes conservation. That’s why an organisation in the US which has a lot of members who own exotic cats, is called ‘Feline Conservation Federation’.

    Of course, you may be under the impression that most exotic owners take their animals straight out of the ‘wild’? All exotic owners that I know (which are a lot) have bought their pets from breeders in North America so really, it’s contributing to the overall population of the species. Many experts agree that there are more tigers in captivity in North America than there are in the wild. When you think about incidents and take that into consideration, you realise that for the tens of thousands of big cats kept in captivity, there is only maybe one incident a year, and only about 20% (this is based on real statistics) are due to pets, the rest are in zoos or USDA facilities. Like I mentioned in my most recent blog post, there are probably just as many if not more casualties due to skydiving or bungee jumping, yet nobody calls for those activities to be banned.

    I gotta say, I love that clip though; Chris Rock is hilarious

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