Friday, January 10, 2014

An Awesome Experience

I don't normally stray from my baking related posts, unless there is something personal I want to share with the world. But recently, PETA has been making defamatory claims against an organization I have visited, and I felt the need to chime in with my own experience with the organization.

In June, I had the opportunity to check out the amazing wildlife rescue, Serenity Springs. I was blown away by this place. They specialize in big cats, but did have some other animals - a wolf, bears. The animals were very well cared for. We spent an hour walking around the facility, hearing the back story on almost every animal. The volunteer conducting the tour was extremely informative and professional, but you could really tell she truly loved the animals.

There were many different types of stories as to how the animals ended up at Serenity Springs. Some of the cats had been adopted by families thinking they were cute when they were little, only to realize later that they, you know, turn into real tigers when they grow up. For others, this place was like a really awesome retirement home after they'd been part of magic performances. There were even a couple of retired actors in the mix. And a liger. It's pretty much my favorite animal. It's like a lion and a tiger mixed....bred for its skills in magic.

What really struck me was how content all of the animals were. None seemed agitated or aggressive or unhappy. They were well fed and did not show signs of missing fur. Obviously, I am no expert, but I have a pretty good gauge on what abused animals look and act like. Last year, one of the only things I wanted to do at the Renaissance Festival was ride an elephant, it was all I talked about for weeks. Once at the festival, I walked over to the elephants and they looked so sad and miserable I couldn't go through with it.

One of PETA's biggest complaints is that Serenity Springs allows the handling of baby animals at too young an age. According to USDA there is no age minimum for the handling of animals. All I know, is that one of my biggest joys of last year was getting to hold a sweet 5 week old baby tiger named Bentley. Before I was able to handle the cub, I was asked to wash my hands and was briefed on how to properly handle and hold him. And the amount of my contact was no more than a minute or two.
Maybe PETA's claims are founded; I don't know. As I said before, I am no expert. I do know that I had a wonderful experience there and I have encouraged others to visit as well, and they too, have had an favorable time. I even found out after my visit that my father-in-law had donated money some time ago to pay for an enclosure.

Okay, thanks for reading. I'll step off my soapbox and get back into the kitchen now.

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