Wednesday, February 8, 2012

685. Man's Dominion: The Case of Thompsons' Private Wildlife Reserve

By Kamran Nayeri, February 5, 2012

PHOTO: A dead lion lays by the fence on Terry Thompson's farm near Zanesville, Ohio, Oct. 18, 2011.
A lion gunned down, one of 49 animals killed by the police
Man’s Dominionover nature has characterized Our Way of Life for thousands of years.  Speciesism—the ideology of human superiority—is essential for our "civilization" based on class society and our domination of nature.  Speciesism, like racism or sexism, must be overcome in theprocess of human emancipation. While racism, sexism, and class domination mustbe overcome to do away with  pathologic social relations, speciesism must be overcome to reunite our way of life with the rest of nature. The latter has become of immediate concern due to the planetaryecological and environmental crises such as global warming and catastrophicclimate change.

A particular aspect of Man’sDominion is the way humans have abused wildlife in all kinds of manners from fishingand hunting (for "sports" or for commercial interest) to enslavement and abuse animals for “entertainment” (e.g., zoos,circuses, sadistic shows such as bull fighting, cock fighting, etc.).  With the development of world commerce, trade in wildlife has become a lucrative business just as slave trade did earlier (see, for example, here).  While the recent animal rights movementhas scored some gains for animal welfare human tyranny against other animals surpasses whatever humans have do and are doing to one another and animal liberation remains a much elusivegoal.  

The following story illustrates the point: an Ohio couple of dubious social character had manage to assemble a private reserve of 69 large mammals, including those classified as "endangered species" and abused them in captivity.  Except for occasional slap on the wrist, their activity has been largely legal as trade in wildlife is a legal international practice and animal abuse in routinely ignored.    

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On February 1, mass media reported on the “accidental” death of a leopard at the Columbus Zooand Aquarium.  The leopard waskilled when a zookeeper smashed it under a heavy metal door when closing thecage.

The 2-year old leopard was one ofsix animals that survived a carnage when Zanesville, Ohio, police killed 49 animals, including 18 Bengaltigers (an endangered species), 17 lions, six black bears, a pair of grizzlies,three mountain lions, two wolves and a baboon last October.  Terry Thompson, 62, the owner of theprivate reserve in Zanesville had let them loose before fatally shootinghimself. Mr. Thompson wasrecently released from prison after serving one year on federal weaponscharges. He had been cited for animal abuse and neglect in the past.

A gross necropsy of the leopardrevealed that he suffered a number of pre-existing conditions including injuryand malnourishment that weakened his bone, broken bones in his back and tailthat had not properly healed.

Reportedly, many animals on thereserve were malnourished, neglected and abused. including a brown bear, twolions,  two Celebes macaques, andtwo other leopards, one back, the other spotted.  Their conditions were not properly assessed because of alegal dispute over whether Marian Thompson, Mr. Thompson’s widow, who hadhelped “care” for the animals, should retain ownership.

In the meantime, the state hasdirected that the rescued animals be quarantined until it is clear that they donot carry serious communicable diseases. The examination of the animals was ruled out because they had to besedated, which can be fatal to unhealthy animals. Meanwhile, medical historiesof the animals are unknown because the Thompsons did not provide records. 

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