Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance
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“Until the lion has his historian,” the African proverb goes, “the hunter will always be a hero.” Jason Hribal fulfills this promise and turns the world upside down. Taking the reader deep inside the circus, the zoo, and similar operations, he provides a window into the hidden struggle and resistance that occurs daily. Chimpanzees escape their cages. Elephants attack their trainers. Orcas demand more food. Tigers refuse to perform. Indeed, these animals are rebelling with intent and purpose. They become the true heroes, and our understanding of them will never be the same.
“Animal fables, jungle books, Aesopian tales were the discursive evidence of cross-species interaction that survived into modernity as children’s literature. When the carceral replaced the domestic system, as the zoos, circuses, and laboratories became the primary site of interaction replacing the barnyard and the wild wood, the animals began to resist. Here are their hidden stories. Jason Hribal takes us behind the zoo scenes, the phoney exhibits, and cute displays to reveal an ugly economy of exploitation, international trafficking in exotic animals, over-work, cruelty in training, incessant and insolent teasing from the public. He chronicles the escapes, the assaults, the demand of food, and the refusals to reproduce that resulted. Here is animal resistance neither “wild” nor “instinctual” but responses to specific injustices. Single-minded, eccentric, and delightfully cranky, Hribal is the annalist nonpareil of animal escape. With light but unforgiving misanthropy he carefully names the animals (the pachyderms – Jumbo and Tinkerbelle, the primates – Moe, Kumang, Little Joe, the sea lions, dolphins, and Orcas (Corky, Kasatka) while leaving the keepers, trainers, and showmen in shameful anonymity. From the escape of Tatiana, the Siberian tiger from the San Francisco zoo, to the latest orca killing Hribal relentlessly gathers the evidence to witness these risings of the creatures.” —Peter Linebaugh, author of The Magna Carta Manifesto and The London Hanged
Troublemakers must be sold. All Clyde-Beatty needed to do now was to find a willing buyer, a task sometimes easier said than done. But in due course the circus tracked down someone who was eager to take the elephants off its hands: the Hawthorn Corporation. Operating out of Richmond, Illinois, a small town located in the northeastern corner of the state, Hawthorn is a contracting firm owned by John Cuneo, Jr. The company’s principle services are leasing, obedience training, and performance.
Of modern historians as comical curiosities, grotesquely odd relics of the Dark Ages. The legal scholar W. W. Hyde succinctly summed up the smug, self-aggrandizing view of the legal scholars of the 20th century: “the savage in his rage at an animal’s misdeeds obliterates all distinctions between man and beast, and treats the latter in all respects as the former.” Of course, the phasing out of animal trials didn’t mean that the cruel treatment of domesticated animals improved or that problematic.
Slammed her handler against a wall in 1991. Administrators dismissed this as an accident. ‘Don’t worry about it,’ was their attitude. Seven months later, Tamba fractured the man’s skull. After this, the press demanded a better accounting. A park curator gave them one. Tamba, the official stated plainly, “just didn’t like him.” Finally, there was the case of Misha at Six Flags in Vallejo, California. She “took advantage” of an employee in 2001 by shoving the unsuspecting person into a bush. A year.
An essay titled “Heavy Petting.” Expressing sentiments that would have shocked Grand Inquisitor Boguet, Singer argued that sexual relations between humans and animals should not automatically be considered acts of abuse. According to Singer, it all comes down to the issue of harm. In some cases, Singer suggested, animals might actually feel excitement and pleasure in such inter-species couplings. Even for the most devoted animal rights advocates this might be taking E. O. Wilson’s concept of.
Hypothermia. In 2010, Tilikum was a star attraction at Sea World in Orlando. During an event called “Dining With Shamu,” Tilikum snatched his trainer, Dawn Brancheau, and dragged her into the pool, where, in front of horrified patrons, he pinned her to the bottom until she drowned to death. The whale had delivered his third urgent message. Tilikum is the Nat Turner of the captives of Sea World. He has struck courageous blows against the enslavement of wild creatures. Now it is up to us to act.