Briana Greco, Features Editor
About two weeks ago, a Bengal tiger was shot and killed by law-enforcement officers in someone’s backyard in Henry County, Georgia.
Feld Entertainment Inc. was contracted to transport the tiger, when it escaped its cage during its transportation from Florida to Tennessee. Feld Entertainment Inc. is also the parent company of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which are now closed.
The law-enforcement officers of Henry County had no choice but to shoot the tiger after it jumped into someone’s backyard and began attacking their dog.
Although there was no autopsy done on the deceased tiger, according to USA Today the animal was believed to been born in captivity and a victim of the exotic animal trade.
According to 11Alive, “The company said the tiger’s name was Suzy, and the 6-year-old animal was being transported from Sarasota, Florida to Tennessee where she was to be flown to Germany for a European circus.”
A huge debate among people deals with the ethical behavior behind exploiting animals for entertainment purposes, such as circuses.
“I just feel as if it is unjust to animals, especially ones that are not meant to be domesticated,” junior Sydney Muraca said. “They shouldn’t be controlled and manipulated for the benefit of people; they are wild and should stay wild.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was also outraged by this event and even blamed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for making this happening possible by granting the Feld company permission to export these animals to Europe.
“Wild animals belong in the wild, and when dangerous apex predators are confined to private homes or for entertainment, the consequences can be fatal,” according to Brittany Peet, PETA Foundation’s director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement.
PETA, being an animal rights organization that fights for the protection of animals across the globe, has even offered a $2,500 reward for any information linking to the identity of the tiger’s previous owner.
“I bet the previous owner of the tiger was not even permitted to have the animal and just gave it to any company possible to avoid the consequences of having an exotic animal,” animals rights activist Gabby Valeriano said.
The law-enforcement officers of Georgia discussed how killing the animal was the only option for the safety of its citizens, however animal rights activists and organizations across the nation seem to think these situations can be avoided altogether by eliminating the use of wildlife for entertainment.
The World Wildlife Organization also classifies Bengal tigers as an endangered species with a population of approximately 2,500 today.
“Considering there are fewer and fewer Bengal tigers each year it is sad that we as humans have to kill one due to the stupidity of others,” Valeriano said. “Hopefully there will be a day where all animals can live freely and unharmed without having the job of entertaining people that they never asked for.”
Many people nationally have had mixed feelings towards the instance in Georgia just two weeks ago, while many others are working towards getting to the root of the bigger problem of animal exploitation and cruelty.
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