Tag: animal abuse

Ballsy Thai Tourist Grabs Tiger’s Crown Jewels

Look at the balls on this one!

A woman from Thailand apparently decided that caging, beating and sedating tigers for selfies wasn’t enough mistreatment for Earth’s critically endangered apex predators. You can always add more insult, just a little icing on the “We Destroyed Your Entire Species” cake, by grabbing a handful of tiger testicles and mean-mugging for a selfie.

Of course the reason the tourist, named Waraschaya Akkarachaiyapas (also referred to as Khun Waraschaya in some media reports), was able to enter the tiger enclosure and pose with the tigers in the first place is because the keepers at Tiger Kingdom zoo in Thailand sedate the animals until they can barely yawn, rendering them incapable of defending their personal space or doing anything other than laying down as tourist after tourist touches them and poses for selfies.

Tiger Kingdom was at the forefront of the so-called “Disneyfied” “zoo experience,” in which the operators rake in millions by breeding tiger cubs like an assembly line and charging tourists to interact and pose for photo with the animals.

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The tourists are told comforting lies: Employees of Tiger Kingdom dress like Buddhist monks, spout platitudes about being one with nature, and claim their “humble” operation began when one kindly monk took in an orphaned cub and founded a sanctuary decades ago.

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Tourists are told that kindly monks founded a sanctuary after taking in an orphaned tiger cub.

The reason the tigers are so docile, the tourists are told, is because the monks hand-raise them, socializing them with humans from a young age. (Paging Siegfried and Roy, as well as Joe Exotic’s two former employees who lost limbs to hand-reared tigers!)

The comforting fiction allows tourists to justify what they’re doing: When an acquaintance of mine proudly changed her social media profile photo to a shot of herself hugging an adult tiger, she acted as if she was shocked by the suggestion that the tigers were sedated. No, she explained, you don’t understand! These tigers were hand-raised by the monks from the time they were cubs! That’s why they love spending 12 hours a day having their tails pulled and getting mounted by tourists who want to ride them like horses. They love it!

It takes only a few seconds to refute what we’ll gently call that misconception: Articles abound of former employees and conservation experts describing horrific conditions for the animals at Tiger Kingdom. (It’s not the only “zoo” that thrives on selling big cat interactions in Thailand: When the infamous “Tiger Mountain” attraction was raided by authorities in 2016, they found the remains of more than 60 tiger cubs, tiger pelts, and “around 1,500 tiger skin amulets, plus other trinkets apparently made of tiger teeth.”)

The cubs, who would normally spend at least two years with their mothers, are taken away when they’re infants so Tiger Kingdom’s employees can hand-raise them, and not with the care and good intent they claim: The operators want the cubs to be accustomed to being handled and passed around so they don’t protest too much when tourists manhandle them.

The cubs are big money-makers, and tourists will pay a premium to feed them from milk bottles. The baby tigers are fed and fed until they can’t drink anymore, then they’re fed some more, former employees say. The bottle-feeding only stops when the day’s over and there are no more tourists forking over an additional $15 to get “adorable” photos of themselves with the babies.

That’s also the age when the cubs are introduced to the bamboo stick, the primary tool for keeping them in line. A cub who doesn’t want to leave its cage for another day of manhandling and force-feeding is smacked on the nose with a bamboo stick until it complies.

Tiger attractions like the infamous one at Thailand’s Tiger Kingdom have popped up all around the world, with interest fueled by enthusiastic reviews from celebrities like Beyoncé, who shared photos of her visit to an American tiger park with her millions of Instagram followers.

If Queen Bey says it’s okay, then it must be okay. Okay? 

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Queen Bey says it’s okay to mess with tiger cubs and chimp babies, so it must be okay!
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Queen Bey says it’s okay!

Life as a cub at Tiger Kingdom is a walk in the park compared to adulthood. Most of the adults are confined in cages 24 hours a day and are only let out on busy days when the operation swells with visitors who want tiger selfies. (Tiger selfies are extraordinarily popular with men who use them on dating site profiles, and Buddy’s home state of New York went so far as to ban tiger selfies because of their prevalence.)

When you consider the context, it’s really not surprising when someone like Waraschaya Akkarachaiyapas feels perfectly comfortable literally molesting the animals for her amusement.

We’ve poached this species to the brink of extinction and destroyed its habitat. We make rugs of their pelts, mount their taxidermied heads to our walls, sell their claws and teeth as trinkets, and grind their bones into dust for use in elixirs that allegedly cure ailments like baldness and erectile disfunction, according to ridiculous millennia-old folk medicine systems. (Having exhausted their supply of tigers to slaughter for traditional Chinese “medicine,” the Chinese have turned to poaching the Amazon’s jaguars to fuel their insatiable appetite for big cat parts. Jaguar poaching has skyrocketed “200 fold” in the last five years to fuel Chinese demand for animal parts.)

In that context, literally molesting a helpless animal is a drop in the ocean of abuse, decimation and the destruction of the dignity of these amazing animals. We’re supposed to be the intelligent species on this planet, the wise caretakers of the only world that we know of brimming with life. We are failing miserably.

 

Cat’s Brutal Murder May Be A Hate Crime, Police Say

After Josie Saltarelli’s cat, Capone, went missing for a few days, it was her 13-year-old daughter who found him — directly across from the family’s driveway and cleaved neatly in two, as if to send a message.

“I don’t know how anyone could do that to an animal,” Saltarelli told a local TV news channel in Oklahoma. “The last image we have of him is cut in half and gutted. My 13-year-old daughter had to see that and that is our memory of him, and it’s awful.”

Capone had been with the family his entire life, for nine years, and was well-loved, his family and neighbors told local media. He was found on Aug. 20.

Police and a local veterinarian have ruled out another animal, due to the precision of Capone’s wounds and the fact that the cat was placed in front of their home.

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Capone in his family’s home.

Now there’s a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest, and police in Tulsa are treating the killing as a hate crime. They suspect the cat was killed because Saltarelli’s boyfriend is a police officer, and the family flies a “Thin Blue Line” flag in front of their home as a message of support for law enforcement. Like officers in many smaller jurisdictions, Saltarelli’s boyfriend also drives his patrol car home and parks it in his driveway.

“For that reason, investigators believe someone could be targeting the officer and his family,” the Tulsa Police Department wrote in a press release about the case.

The Oklahoma Alliance for Animals is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for killing Capone.

“It is well documented and proven that violence and abuse against animals leads to other major crimes,” the group wrote in a Facebook post about the killing, “including violence against children and elders. We need to find the person who did this.”

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The pro-law enforcement flag in front of the family’s Tulsa home.

 

UK Cat Positive For COVID: ‘Don’t Kiss Your Pets’

A female Siamese has become the first cat to test positive for COVID-19 in the UK.

The cat almost certainly caught the virus from her COVID-infected owners, authorities said. Christine Middlemiss, the U.K.’s top veterinary official, echoed the CDC in urging people not to freak out:

“There is no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans,” Middlemiss said. “We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update our guidance to pet owners should the situation change.”

Owners who have COVID-like symptoms should social distance from their own pets, says Margaret Hosie, a virologist at the University of Glasgow: “Don’t kiss your cat. Don’t have the cat sleeping in a bed with you, and don’t share food with the cat.”

If your cat is anything like mine, good luck trying to tell him he’s not sleeping in your his bed.

Kleptomaniac cat collects goggles

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Avery with his stash of swimming goggles. Credit: BBC

A cat in Bristol, UK, has an odd obsession with swimming goggles. The four-year-old moggie, Avery, has stolen eight pairs so far this summer.

Avery’s human, Sally Bell, said she’s checked with her neighbors and no one’s told her they’re missing goggles, so Avery must be wandering further than realized.

“He doesn’t play with the goggles, he just leaves them for me. In fact, the pair he brought home the other day had a dead mouse with them – two presents at once,” Bell told the BBC. “I feel so bad in case it’s children who are being brought new goggles and they’re getting into trouble because they keep going missing.”

Terrible human beings are terrible

Someone is shooting cats with pellet guns in a Wyandotte, Michigan, neighborhood. Four cats have been killed and a fifth had a leg amputated after he was shot, WDIV reports. There’s a reward for information leading to the shooter’s arrest, and police want to hear from anyone with information about the cat shootings.

Meanwhile, the Humane Society of Utah is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a sicko who tied a cat down, tortured it and set it on fire.

A woman found Sterling the cat on July 21 and brought him to the veterinarian. Little Sterling made it through surgery and remains under the care of the vet, who’s providing pain medication and making sure the tough kitty is being “loved and spoiled.”

“This level of cruelty should unnerve the community,” said the Humane Society’s Rachel Heatley. “In the interest of public safety, an individual who is capable of torturing an animal needs to be identified and taken off the street as soon as possible.”

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Sterling survived and is recovering from his wounds. Credit: Humane Society of Utah

People Are Mistreating Their Cats For The Dumbest Meme Of All Time

I’ve never watched The Princess Diaries, but apparently the movie features a scene in which Sandra Oh picks up the phone and says:

“Gupta. Mmm-hmmm. Mmm-hmm. Mmm-hmm. The Queen is coming.”

Why that’s worth replicating is beyond me, but apparently there’s a new trend among Tik Tokers to replicate the scene using cats in place of a phone, while holding the cats upside-down and promptly dumping them on the floor immediately afterward.

Why? Who the hell knows.

The Queen Is Coming, Idiots Say
Above: Idiots reenacting a scene from The Princess Diaries using their cats as “phones.” The woman on the right is internet-famous Youtuber Colleen Ballinger.

You can see the bizarre cat-phoning Tik Toks here:

 

Say it with me now: “Cats are not toys. Cats are not toys. Cats are not toys…”

Veterinarian Dr. Jessica May told Business Insider the obvious, which is that cats aren’t enjoying their forced participation in this meme:

“Many are handled roughly and their body language shows a negative response to having been picked up,” she said. “It is especially concerning to see some cats being held upside down — something that is not only very frightening for the animal but that also puts the pet at risk of head injury if dropped.”

May said she’s also concerned by the way the Tik-Tokers are dropping their cats immediately afterward with no concern for their well-being.

People reenacting the same scene using dogs aren’t manhandling them or just dropping them like a phone, noted Paula Stewart of the Animal Talent Agency.

“I can’t imagine many people holding a dog upside down,” said Stewart. “But I think that we need to realize that animals, cats and dogs are sentient beings. They’ve got emotions like us and we shouldn’t treat them badly.”

It should go without saying, but using Tik-Tok is a bad idea anyway unless you fancy China’s communist government gaining access to your personal information, which is exactly what people are providing by using the service.

Finally, if I was the kind of fool who thought this was funny and tried to reenact it, Buddy would tear my face off.

And you know what? He’d be perfectly right to do so. He’s a sentient animal, not a toy.

“Gupta. Mmm-hmm. Mmm-hmmm. The King is coming, and he’s going to tear your face apart for being a jackass.”

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“You don’t want to tangle with these talons, bro.”

Is It Animal Abuse To Give Your Cat Ice Cream?

“Journalism” in 2020: A video goes viral, people react on Twitter, and news sites run stories about what the twits wrote.

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a viral video of a human giving his cat some ice cream, which has prompted accusations of animal abuse:

Is that brain freeze, as alleged by quite a few people online, or a dramatic reaction to something unlike Mr. Kitty has never tasted before?

It’s a tiny amount for a tiny creature for sure, but the reaction could be kitty’s way of saying “Dayummm! That is the tastiest yums I’ve ever tasted in the history of tasting yums!!”

Apparently this is a thing, a cat video genre unto itself. After watching the below video, I concede it does look like brain freeze. As you can see, however, most of the cats immediately go back for more:

One thing we do know is most cats are lactose intolerant, so dairy products in general are not good for them. (Kittens should nurse from their mothers, and orphaned kittens should be given kitten-specific formula, which can be found in pet stores and most grocery stores. Milk from cows or other animals doesn’t sit well with their digestive systems.)

Giving your cat ice cream probably isn’t a good idea unless it’s dairy-free and a rare treat. I’ve never given ice cream to my cat, and giving it to him for a cheap laugh would be a betrayal of trust.

But is it animal abuse? What do you think?