It was with a sad heart that I sat and listened to our city counsel discuss the options about what to do with the animals at Spruce Haven Zoo on Monday evening.
It was very obvious that hardly anyone of them had ever visited Spruce Haven nor had they read or paid any attention to the very educational information that Katherine MacRea had sent to every councilor.
Frank Fata asked Ken Marshall many questions that seemed to be almost rehearsed. It was apparent that Fata knows nothing about wild animals or their care . He thought that Ben the bear, living in a 20×20 foot cage was just fine. I wonder how Fata would like to live in such a small space with nothing to do for 30 years! He also said there was no point to moving the animals from one zoo to another zoo. He did not even know or understand that a sanctuary is totally different from a zoo. Again, it was obvious that Fata had not read any of the information that was provided to him.When he asked if Ken Marshall had sought advice about his animals he answered a few times that he had talked to a” lot of people”. Yet not one councilor asked the obvious question. Just who were these people giving him advice? Not anyone with experience.
Today I made two phone calls. One to Aspen Valley Animal Sanctuary who would be taking Ben into their care if council had voted to have these animals removed from Spruce Haven. and one to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado. This is where the lions would go should they be removed from the zoo.
The misinformation surrounding this situation is astounding!
For one thing, Ben would not be attacked by other bears if he went to Aspen Valley. He would be in his
own enclosure which is at least an acre in size. He would have trees, grass, fresh water and food designed for his natural diet. He would have a habitat where he could explore and move around freely without being confined to a small cage. The sanctuary has moved many older bears without harm.
Ken Marshall said that the reason that Ben paces back and forth is because he can detect storms coming the next day, or that he can smell strong perfume and that makes him pace. When I asked the representative about this, she actually laughed.
Ben paces because he is bored, with no stimulation. He has nothing to do and nowhere to go. Again, council should know better or at least have checked these things out for themselves.
The Wildlife Sanctuary in Colorado is a beautiful facility. If the two declawed lions were sent there, they would have their own huge enclosure. They would still be together because they grew up together. They would not be able to be harmed by any other lions.
I was told that they have rescued lions from all over the world. even as far away as Argentina.
Do our councilors just merrily agree with the Marshalls and not even look at the material that was given to then? They could have made a couple of quick phone calls themselves.
I’d like to paraphrase Paul Christian’s answer when it came time to vote. He said that as a teacher he knows that young people are so much more aware about animals and their conditions. His students understand that animals are much more sentient than we give them credit for, and that young people care about what happens to animals. He voted to have the animals moved and I am grateful to him. He seemed to be much more on the ball than certain other councilors.
The other animals at Spruce Haven live in appalling conditions too. Cages that are too small and that provide nothing natural for them. It’s very sad.
It is time for these small zoos to give up their animals in order that they will have a much better life. How blind do you have to be to not see that it is not right to keep these animals in captivity? Do you think it is a good idea to take your children to these places so that they too can grow up thinking that animals deserve to be in small cages?
Your child would be better educated by watching nature documentaries or visiting sanctuaries to see how animals really are.
We are supposedly smarter than people were many years ago. We now know that animals have emotions, feelings, intelligence, and awareness.
They are living beings. They should either be in the wild, or in sanctuaries if they are injured or have been harmed so that they can no longer be in their natural habitat.
They do not deserve to be in small wire enclosures to be stared at as though they are museum exhibits.
I have no doubt that the Marshalls love their animals and care for them as best they know how.
The problem is, they are misguided. It’s like saying “I love my children but I want them to be confined to the house” “They only need us without outside interference.”.
Ken Marshall saying that moving the animals would kill them is wrong. These sanctuaries have been doing this for many years and they know how to do what is best for the animals they take in. (Again, when asked how he knew this he replied that he had talked to many “people” and that is what they told him.) And again , none of the councilors asked who these “experts” were.
I would like to thank the councilors who were in favor of the animals being moved. As for the others I am pretty darn sure they did no research on this or else they would know that what they are doing is wrong. Either that or they just don’t care.It makes me wonder how many other issues having to do with our city are put forward without any background knowledge or further research.
As for people who think those of us who are trying to give these animals some comfort in their senior years are fanatics… You are wrong. We are only trying to help these captive animals live a better life. And despite what you say about loving these animals. I can only tell you that we love them too. The difference is that we love them enough to want what is best for them.
Wild animals, except for the reasons I explained above, should not be in captivity or used as a way to make money, especially when they are condemned to live out their entire lives in small inadequate housing with no stimulation for their very intelligent minds.
Thank you to those councilors who were wise and aware enough to want to move the animals. As for the rest of you, you should hang your head in shame. You did not do your homework and you did not make your decision using any kind of thoughtful information.