Monday, 6 December 2010

To tiger or not to tiger....

... that is the question.

Chaing Mai night safari: you sit on a small tram and are taken through dark enclosures where warthogs and antelopes wander freely a few feet from you. That part itself of the park was quite nice. I was less enthusiastic about the larger animals,which were in much smaller areas (including a handful of white tigers in cages near the main entrance). It didn't seem right. But the most exploitative bit was still to come.

For 250B (about £5), you can get your photo taken with a tiger cub. They have a white cub, about the size of a german shepherd dog, and I noticed the handler bottle-feeding it, so it can't have been very old yet.

Now, you have to realise that I've loved tigers ever since I was a small child. They've always been my favourite animal. When will I ever again get the chance to see what a tiger's fur actually feels like? To smell their breath and feel them breathing on my skin? To see if they like having the back of their heads scratched the way housecats do? Do I do this or not?

Part of me is hopping excitedly from foot to foot going: "Tigers, tigers, tigers!!!!" And part of me is shaking my head sadly, thinking how exploitative it is that a highly endangered animal is being pimped this way. Plus white tigers are a big issue to begin with - as the genetic variant is naturally rare, these animals have been badly inbred to try and keep up with the international demand for white tigers. This sort of breeding is doing the species no favours, and the regular handling can't be good for them either.

So in the end my conscience won out, and I walked away.

I still regret it a bit.

I don't know what this says about my principles - that I have too many, or not quite enough?

Sigfried and Roy can go fuck themselves, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment