Being grossly judgmental has led to many of the biases and even prejudices in today’s society, but being quiet about actions that appear inherently wrong according to the ethics you were imbued with should also not happen- here’s your chance to speak out!
I am not here to support or “tear apart” the fur industry as a whole because there are justifiable arguments on how some furriers (not really fur farms) make use of animal waste products, but I am here to tell you that the amount of animal bloodshed in the US alone is frighteningly huge and should never reach such levels. Of the 31 million animals killed on fur ranches each year, about twenty-six million are mink, 4.5 million are fox, 250,000 are chinchillas, 150,000 are sable, 100,000 are fitch, 100,000 are raccoon dogs (which is a separate species from the American raccoon), and, fortunately, a smaller number (but not small enough) are lynx, bobcat, and nutria.
Frightening numbers, right? Not frightening enough…
Electrocution. She was four weeks old, had barely lost the baby blue in her eyes, and since the day she was seen to have a beautiful coat on the farm that raised her, she was selected to be electrocuted. ELECTROCUTED! How does one electrocute anything, let alone select a little kitten still milk-fed for such torture? I do not know how this happens, nor can I even begin to understand. The baby saved from this horrific death goes by the name of Raindance, and she, along with 55 other kittens at a bobcat fur farm, were saved by Big Cat Rescue. Once rescued, the kittens had to be fed every two hours. Friends, family, and anyone with a heart and desire to hold a bottle to a baby bobcat came to help these rescues.
Sadly, this North American species finds itself on death row if they are not sold to a pet home before they are 1 year old. Others, like Raindance, are simply bred to be killed.
Big Cat Rescue has gone through enormous hoops, leaps, and bounds to preserve the lives of wildcats. One of their greatest success stories was a struggle between three bobcat fur farmers and the co-founder of Big Cat Rescue. After strong negotiations that ended up costing Big Cat Rescue a pretty penny, Big Cat Rescue’s Co-Founder paid for each and every single cat and kitten from each of these three farms. In addition, they had the fur farmers agree in contract that they would never buy and breed cats for slaughter ever again. Yes, some of the cats that the fur farmers were purchasing were from careless owners who had no other idea what to do to get rid of their bobcats other than selling the their lives away.
When other individuals “drop off” their cats to be rescued at Big Cat Rescue, the sanctuary can’t always be certain that the individual “loading off” their cat isn’t just going to go buy a cuter kitten and perpetuate the exotic cat trade further. Thus, before Big Cat Rescue takes in any pets, they make the individual dropping off an animal sign a contract that they will never again own another exotic cat. They enforce this by requiring them to surrender their license.
As implied above, there is seemingly a market for pet adoption of bobcats, but should these animals be household pets when they are used to roaming in forests, hunting small prey and sometimes even hunting large prey like deer? I dare say the answer is “no”. They are not domesticated creatures and do not have the same capacity of domestication, like our anciently selected modern, domesticated dog. Bobcats are wild. Unfortunately most people do not understand this until it is too late- i.e. when their little kitten they adopted tears up the house, cuts them with her claws and/or teeth, pees along the furniture, or even gravely injures or kills someone upon feeling instinctually threatened.
One bobcat that arrived at Big Cat Rescue was fortunately experiencing a polar opposite existence to that of poor, rescued Raindance. This other bobcat, Angelica, was a gift to a couple who after 14 very difficult years with Angelica, had to give her up to Big Cat Rescue after their home foreclosed. Originally they kept the cat as an “indoor pet” and treated her lovingly. But still Angelica would pee on the head of the husband (she really was not fond of him) and naturally appeared a little aggressive at times. The family then made an outdoor area for her, but despite a life that seemed mild, it was no life for a creature meant for the North American forests. Angelica was fed domestic cat food in her previous “domesticated” life and had to undergo a whole lifestyle and diet change when she was given to Big Cat Rescue. She was exposed to the joy of fresh meats and then found how much she loved rolling in leaves and dirt- the way her relatives do each and every day. Angelica and Raindance, though from these different backgrounds, both find themselves ending up at the same place. Did this need to happen?
There is thus a connection between Raindance and Angelica that delves deeper than being the same species and living at Big Cat Rescue: they both are symbols of what happens when you perpetuate the exotic pet trade. Whether getting/buying an exotic as a “loving” pet or purchasing a fur coat, the results are the same regardless of intent: the instigation of inevitable wildlife cruelty and snuffed wildlife freedom (one of the worst oxymorons I know).
Please spread the word! We can only end such brutality by advocating an end to any private exotic pet ownership and perhaps by encouraging more regulated legislation.