CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

October 20, 2011

Lions and Tigers in Ohio????


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

LIONS AND TIGERS IN OHIO???

A climate wholesome and delightful, frost even in winter almost entirely unknown, and a river called by way of eminence ‘The Beautiful,’ and abounding in excellent fish of a vast size; noble forests, consisting of trees that spontaneously produce sugar and a plant that yields ready-made candles ; venison in plenty, the pursuit of which is uninterrupted by wolves, foxes, lions, or tigers. A couple of swine will multiply themselves a hundred fold in two or three years without taking any care of them. No taxes to pay, no military services to be performed.*

      A perfect place. A Utopia. A land of milk and honey. And no lions or tigers…

     Someplace you and I might like to live. Right?

     So where is this place that had land for sale that was advertised in a seductive prospectus circulated around Paris by the Compagnie du Scioto, prior to and during the French Revolution in the late 1780s and 1790s.

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     Hundreds of French persons bit, including many of Noble class. Shiploads of emigrants sailed from Le Havre, France, beginning in February 1790. They landed in Alexandria, Virginia, before trekking out to their promised land, their land of milk and honey.

     And when they arrived at their Utopia they discovered they were in a primitive land with savage Indians and…well, you tell me. What would Ohio, have been like when they arrived in Gallipolis on October 17, 1790? Certainly not what was described in the prospectus!

     But one thing in the prospectus was true—there were no lions or tigers.

     Had the French emigres that founded Gallipolis arrived later, when the twenty-first century was just a newbie, they would have discovered eighteen Bengal tigers, nine lions, eight lionesses, and three mountain lions in nearby Zanesville, Ohio.

     That’s thirty-eight lions and tigers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     These thirty-eight were among forty-eight exotic animals that Terry Thompson kept on a seventy-three acre farm he called Muskingum County Animal Farm.

     Unfortunately, Thompson didn’t provide well for his menagerie. He was convicted in 2007 of animal cruelty for keeping his animals in poor physical and medical conditions. At that time he fed his lions meat from malnourished horses.

     Somehow, he was able to continue operating his farm.

     On October 19, 2011, Thompson, 62, opened the animal cages and released all the animals. Then he committed suicide.

    Freed lions charged horses, but no animal made it more than five hundred feet from the farm.

     The collateral damage included the death of all the lions and tigers. Deputies were ordered to “shoot to kill” loose animals in the community before any humans were harmed or killed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     Questions arise from the Zanesville situation.

  • Why was it that Thompson was allowed to operate the farm when he was found to be neglecting the animal’s medical and physical care?
  • Who cared for the animals while he spent a year in federal prison (he was released September 30 after serving a one-year sentence for possessing unregistered guns)?
  • Why was he not harmed when he opened the gates to free the animals?

     It wasn’t just tigers and lions that were kept on the farm. He housed six black bears, two grizzly bears, and two wolves. All received a death sentence.

     Ten exotic animals, in addition to the thirty-eight tigers and lions, were killed before the carnage ended.

     Although the Bengal tiger’s territory used to range from Turkey to east Asia, it is now an endangered species. This is primarily due to

  • the destruction of its habitat
  • illegal poaching for their bones, skins, teeth, nails, aomong other parts. Tiber parts are used in Chinese medicine.***

     It’s heartbreaking that so many exotic animals, some on the endangered list, had to be destroyed in Zanesville.

     And it is good that tigers and lions didn’t exist in the Ohio wilderness of the late 1700s, since the French settlers had sufficient other problems to contend with in the untamed Utopia in which they were expected to settle.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     The October 23, 2011, KQV poll in the Greenburg Tribune-Review states Law enforcement officers near Zanesville, Ohio, shot and killed nearly 50 wild animals…released by the owner of a private animal park, who then committed suicide. Officers were ordered to kill the animals instead of trying to tranquilize them for fear those hit with darts would escape in the darkness before they dropped and then regain consciousness.

     Do you agree that the animals released from the Ohio animal park should have been shot, rather than tranquilized?

     To vote yes, call 412/333-9190     To vote no, call 412/333-9192

     Or answer in the comment box below.

UPDATE: Poll results—Yes, 208 (56%)      No   166 (44%)  (Greensburg Tribune-Review, October 24, 2011, pp A8

SOURCES

*LIFE AND LETTERS OF JOEL BARLOW, LL.D., POET, STATESMAN, PHILOSOPHER

WITH EXTRACTS FROM HIS WORKS AND HITHERTO UNPUBLISHED POEMS. Charles Burr Todd, 1886, pp. 69

**http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_762642.html

***http://pudang.tripod.com/

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ADDITIONAL READING:

WHAT RIGHTS DO CATS HAVE, I ASK

BEAR CARNIVAL IN CONNELLSVILLE, PA.

BEAR CONFRONTATIONS: SAFETY PRECAUTIONS (BOLM)

BEAR STORIES ACROSS THE NATION

The Cat with the Calico Tail

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