02 January 2008

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Tiger on the Loose: Can It Happen Here?” (news article, Dec. 27):

It’s little wonder that Tatiana, the tiger that escaped from the San Francisco Zoo, longed for her freedom. An Oxford University study published in the journal Nature found that wide-ranging carnivores like tigers and other big cats “show the most evidence of stress and/or psychological dysfunction in captivity.”

Tigers are designed by nature to roam far and wide, hunt, claim territory and seek out mates. In captivity, they are denied everything that comes naturally to them and pose a serious danger to the public and keepers alike from attacks and escapes.

These acts of independence are often their last, as, like Tatiana, most animals who attempt to follow their natural instincts are killed.

How many people and animals must pay with their lives before we acknowledge that big cats don’t belong in captivity?

Jennifer O’Connor
Norfolk, Va., Dec. 28, 2007
The writer, on the staff of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, writes for its Animals in Entertainment Campaign.