Thursday, 18 May 2006

Just Who Is King of The Jungle Here?

This is one of those cases where the American freedom of expression supports a cause borne of a warped sense of altruism: Keeping a pet lion.

This family's case is not unique in the US. Across the country, people buy and keep exotic pets: lions, tigers, bears, pythons, leopards, etc "out of love" and the "spirit of conservation". Most of these animals are rejects left behind after a zoo, circus or animal park goes under, and they go relatively cheap at exotic pet markets.

I won't doubt that some of these pet owners are really serious about their charges. However, all of this pales in comparison with the real significance of these animals in the wild. The big cats keep the number of grazing herd animals in check. That's what they were built for, and nothing else. Everything in the wild was hunky-dory until we humans came along. We found fire, invented the axe, and bred like viruses. We took over the job of hunter-killer, effectively firing the native predators from their jobs.

Keeping wild predators as pets is not an act of love or mercy on our part.

It's an insult.

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