Tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio, Another Reason Why Exotic Animals Should Not Be Bought or Sold

Governor John Kasich: this is why people should not be allowed to own exotic, non-native animals. Terry Thompson, the owner of an animal park in Zanesville, Ohio, apparently released his collection of animals including 17 Bengal tigers before killing himself. The Zanesville Sheriff ordered his deputies to kill these innocent creatures rather than try to sedate and recapture them. It is tragic that, so far, 50 animals have been killed. It is especially troubling that the 17 Bengal tigers were killed by authorities, because according to National Geographic, there are probably fewer than 2500 left in the whole world. More troubling is the fact that Thompson was allowed to keep these animals despite reports of abuse and his own federal crimes for which he went to prison and was recently released. Would the laws that prevented the buying and selling of exotic animals by individuals that Gov. Kasich allowed to expire earlier this year have prevented Thompson from amassing this collection of animals? I am not sure, because he operated a “zoo” of sorts. However, I believe that this is an indication that a single individual should not have the access and power to perpetuate an event like this. If this means that an individual owns and operates a zoo, then I don’t believe that they should continue to do so. If we must have zoos, they should be institutions with multiple persons responsible for animals and their wellbeing. Individuals can do massively crazy things as what has transpired in Zanesville, or they can do things that are unfortunate like getting themselves or others killed.

Find out more about what happened and what you can on the Humane Society’s website here.

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.