What do COVID-19 and the new Netflix series “The Tiger King” have in common?
They both highlight the despicable treatment of animals by humans…and how we pay the price for our cruelty in the end.
I’ve been horrified about the Chinese animal markets for years—you hear things, read things, try your best to ignore those things you can’t fix. Pretend they’re not happening. You know they’re eating dogs and cats over there and see the unforgettable pictures of our family companions crammed into crates, off to the market to be slain for dinner.
“What kind of sick monsters do this,” Americans think, going back to their steak and potatoes dinner.
Except it was only a matter of time before the dregs of Chinese society dragged enough helpless beings into their cruel markets to inflict on humans another disease that the world doesn’t have the immunity to fight.
And so we’re all going down. Yay.
It would be simple to be pissed off at all the Chinese people of the world, but—just as all Americans aren’t responsible for school shootings—it’s only the despicable Chinese people who capture and sell animals who are responsible for bringing us COVID-19.
Those fucks, I am mad at.
And while we stew in our anger that people the world over are dying and will continue to die because some assholes think it’s a good idea to eat bats and pangolins, it’s tempting to make it a problem of THEM vs. US.
THEY are horrible people. THEY harmed animals, and now we’re all dying.
But it’s not just THEM. Americans are once again offering up proof that we are just as despicable in our own right.
Enter The Tiger King.
If you’re living under a rock (like I usually do) The Tiger King is all the rage; it’s a Netflix documentary series that pits more than one batshit crazy tiger breeder against a tiger activist and her followers.
I’d heard snippets of this story for years—if you’re in the animal welfare movements you probably did too. But I had no idea just how TRULY INSANE the story was.
INSANE. And that’s why people can’t stop watching it.
I watched the whole seven episodes last night, and I felt like my soul needed a good sudsing off afterwards.
I realized Americans can’t possibly believe we’re better than any other country when we’ve got these creepy, egomaniacal white scumbags breeding tigers to make a quick buck and then slaughtering them or selling them to shitty roadside zoos when they get too big to be of use.
“Animal Activists”: the words were spit out throughout the series by Joe Exotic, the premiere douchebag, as an expletive of the highest order.
WE, the animal activists, he claimed, are the horrible people daring to get up in his business…daring to tell him what he can do with his tigers…daring to try to shut him down.
And yet…and yet…and yet. This same man used the allure of tigers to reel in young guys (who it turns out weren’t even gay) to become his what, chattel? Drug use and abuse was rampant, with one of the husbands losing most of his teeth from meth, while the other accidentally offed himself playing with a loaded weapon.
It appeared that all the men involved in this abuse of tigers were USING THEM TO GET WOMEN (OR MEN) TO SLEEP WITH THEM.
It was a den of vipers, and each new character introduced into the story seemed even more despicable than the one who came before.
One of my biggest takeaways from The Tiger King was that America has no high ground when it comes to animal abuse. NONE.
These men believe it’s their God-given right to use the tigers for any purpose they see fit. There is NEVER a thought spared for what the TIGER actually wants. And ALL these tiger breeders kill the babies when they get too big—but they know it’s wrong and illegal, so they hide the fact that they’re doing it.
Will more charges be coming for some of the other losers who are exploiting these animals? Lordy, I sure hope so.
Even the tiger activist, Carole Baskin, doesn’t come across as being above the fray. I’m not even going to touch the missing second husband thing, hoping that’s just a smear campaign. And while I understand that when you mix it up with people of this ilk, lowlife criminals, you can’t help but get dirty yourself…I do have a few criticisms that I think are perfectly valid and need to be brought up.
1. Carole brags that she has no paid staff. It seems that she/the organization has money. She was showing on camera how much her nonprofit was getting weekly in donations just through Facebook—yet she uses only volunteer help? No. That’s unacceptable.
The creepy men were paying their people $100-$125 A WEEK—and making them work every single day—just for the glory of being around the tigers and these egomaniacs.
Yet she comes off even WORSE than them in this area. If you value the lives of the animals, and you value the people who care for them, then you need to pay them, and it needs to be well above minimum wage. Volunteers can fill the gaps, and can make life a little easier for the employees, but expecting people to give 40 hours a week or more for no pay is cruel in and of itself.
2. Her volunteers pose with bloody (dead?) white rabbits that they are going to feed to the tigers. WHAT. THE. HOLY. FUCK. I didn’t even understand what was happening when I saw that photo…who in their right mind would do such a thing? And call themselves an animal activist? When she was asked about the picture, she rolled her eyes and blew it off like people were making a big deal about nothing.
Really? So the rabbits didn’t have a right to life, just the tigers? If you’re going to call yourself an animal activist, then it really can’t be just ONE animal that has the right to live and thrive, can it? While I’m well aware that tigers are carnivores, (all the dead animals they were throwing to them was horrific, I couldn’t watch) other animals that are seen merely as food actually WANT to live and have their own agendas too. Yes, even white rabbits.
How could she be so insensitive as to allow such a photo and then wonder why others have a problem with it?
3. Her sanctuary didn’t look better than the tiger breeders’ zoos…in fact, it looked worse. If you’re going to serve as an example of what a tiger sanctuary SHOULD look like, it needs to be AH-MAZING; it needs to have lots of room for the tigers to roam, to swim, to live as good a life as possible in captivity. Having never been to her facility, I have only the show to go by, but I saw no evidence of her place being better. AND IT NEEDS TO BE. MUCH BETTER.
After watching this show last night, I felt even more disappointed in America, if that were even possible. Until humans learn and understand that animals have the same right to life that we do, we will continue to exploit them in whatever way suits our fancy.
And we will continue to pay the price for it…often with our own lives and the lives of the innocent who truly deserve better.
GOD HELP US ALL.