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Irishfest weekend: VOTK visit - Phil's Rambling Rants
August 22nd, 2006
09:55 pm

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Irishfest weekend: VOTK visit
Sunday, we went to an Indian place Art had been curious to try.  They were running a buffet, so we got to sample a dozen or so dishes, all of which were pretty good but none outstanding.  And then we headed to Valley of the Kings, which I wanted to talk about in a separate entry.

VOTK is a smaller (compared to EFRC) big cat sanctuary in south central Wisconsin that I've been visiting a few times a year for four years or so.  I like visiting there because, despite the problems they have because of their limited resources, the animals always seem to be happy, well adjusted, and interested.  The main reason that I want to talk about visiting there is to rant about new Federal regulations which flatly require any member of "the public" to stay 4' away from the cages at all times.  This means a second set of barriers around all of the cages, and not being allowed behind the secondary barriers to take pictures.  It also means having to use a 4' pole with a spike on the end to give the cats chicken legs.  (I always thought that letting the visitors feed the cats chicken legs through the fence was a bit iffy.  But the cats appreciated it, and even for me, with all my experience feeding the cats at EFRC, it's fun.)  With the new barriers and rules, the experience of visiting the place is significantly diminished.  The cats were ignoring us instead of acting happy to see us.  It was a far less stimulating experience than usual visiting the place.  Perhaps slightly safer, but I'm quite certain it was safe enough before, and the additional safety comes at the cost of pretty much ruining the experience -- I don't think anyone who doesn't already have the big cat bug will be able to get it under these rules.  Of course, that is exactly what the AR front is trying to achieve by pushing the government into adopting these regulations.  Once nobody knows the cats, nobody will fight for the right to have them, and they can achieve their goal of seeing the tiger et al extinct instead of in contact with humans.

For a personally significant example of the dangerous, abusive behavior these regulations are supposed to stamp out, see my user icon.

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