Target: Jeremy Parsons, General Manager of Iowa’s Clay County Fair
Goal: Stop the exploitation and abuse of big cats in the name of entertainment at the Clay County Fair in Iowa
For many years, the Clay County Fair in Iowa has featured the Big Cat Encounter, a traveling show involving a trainer and handful of tigers and lions. The show’s animals work many hours a day before being carted to a new location in a grueling process that is repeated all year round. This lifestyle is most unnatural, and should not be forced upon these animals. Big cats do not belong in a circus setting, forced to perform tricks for human pleasure. They are incredibly strong and dangerous animals that should be respected and left in their natural habitats, not bred and used for entertainment.
Big Cat Encounter is a traveling act created by the Rosaire family, a nine-generation circus performing family from Europe. Their Clay County Fair show consists of three acts per day, for a period of nine days during which the unfortunate animals are put through a series of dangerous and intricate exercises. The supposed goal of these forced circus acts is to teach audiences about these animals and about how respect them. This is not the correct way to encourage respect for wild animals.
What a circus show of this nature implies is that humans have dominion over all animals, even those that are not normally domesticated. Humans should respect the lives animals lead in their natural habitats, performing as they would with no interference. To get a wild tiger or lion to perform with a human in a circus setting requires obedience training and fear mongering. These negative interactions with the animals should not be encouraged.
Encourage Clay County Fair’s general manager to understand that allowing Big Cat Encounter to perform is allowing cruelty. There are many productive ways to educate people about tigers and lions; using them as entertainment is unnatural and does not allow for respect towards the animals.
Dear Jeremy Parsons: General Manager of Iowa’s Clay County Fair,
For many years you have advocated for the Big Cat Encounter show to take place at your Clay County Fair. This show is very popular; however, it represents animal-human relationships in a negative light. In order for these large animals to work so closely with human trainers there is a significant amount of domination and fear tactics used.
The Rosaire family may not physically abuse their animals, but in order for the big cats to perform there is certainly verbal and emotional abuse involved. Making wild animals perform tricks for entertainment is not the correct way to encourage people to respect wild animals. These beasts should be allowed to act like big cats in their natural environment, not forced to perform tricks for treats. They are very dangerous and should be regarded as such. Were something to go wrong the big cat, the trainer or even a member of the audience could become seriously injured.
I urge you to reconsider funding the Big Cat Encounter. There are many other wonderful attractions offered at your fair that could make up for the absence of the Big Cat Encounter. Please stop supporting this unnatural and cruel animal attraction.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: felicito rustique via Flickr