Animal Rights Activists Furious Over Traveling Exotic Animal Show in Spring Hill
SPRING HILL – Traveling exotic animal shows have long-been an extremely controversial issue and are often criticized by watchdog groups like PETA (People for the ethical treatment of animals).
Yesterday, RNRF received several complaints about an animal exhibit set up in front of the Town Square Mall on Commercial Way. Jungle Safari offers pony and camel rides and has several exotic animals for visitors to view and pet. But animal rights activists in the area aren’t happy, and their disdain for the organization is spreading across social media.
Lindsay Cavalier posted on the RNRF Community Facebook Page, “How much longer is that traveling animal abuse show in town?” She went on to say, “I would like to organize a peaceful protest to drive them out and let them know they are not welcome back.”
Terry Wilson says, “They need to be in their natural habitat.” But owner Robert Engesser says that’s not possible for animals born and raised in captivity.
During an interview with Engesser today, he says “We’re licensed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture.” Engesser continues, “All the animals are under veterinary care and have current health certificates and vaccinations.”
I asked Engesser if his animals could ever be introduced into the wild and he said, “No, these guys didn’t come from the wild and they wouldn’t be able to survive because of the human imprint.” He further stated, “Because they are in captivity and socialize with humans all the time, it doesn’t stress them out to have veterinary care or receive vaccinations.”
Engesser runs an exotic animal farm in Cheifland, Florida that he says has been in the family for three generations. “It’s shows and events like this that help fund the care for our farm up there,” says Engesser.
RNRF viewed each animal on site and they appeared to be in good health, and there was plenty of food and water on-hand.
According to the website 911animalabuse.com, Jungle Safari has been cited several times over the years by the USDA but the complaints have not led to the facility being shut down.
After years of battling animal rights groups, the 146-year-old Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed down last year over concerns for the treatment of elephants, and PETA takes credit for the action.
PETA has also waged war against SeaWorld, Miami Seaquarium, and many other zoos and animal exhibits across the country.
Jungle Safari opened on valentine’s Day and runs until tomorrow evening at 9:00 p.m.
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