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Do You Think Tiger King Fully "Investigated" the Problem?

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Separate from the murder for hire charges, there was overwhelming eye witness testimony from his own staff that Joe Exotic shot five healthy tigers in the head with a shotgun to make room for others whose owner was willing to pay Joe to board them. Franklin D. Roosevelt said "I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made." To those who have been misled by Tiger King into the "free Joe Exotic" absurdity we say this: If you sincerely believe that a man who shoots five healthy, beautiful, majestic tigers in the head to make money deserves to be free, we are proud to have you as enemies.

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Just three weeks ago, during a narcotics raid in Hidalgo County, authorities discovered a white Bengal tiger, a bobcat, emus, porcupines, and a kinkajou being held illegally. Most of the animals were taken to the Austin Zoo for medical evaluation and rehabilitation, but there are still privately owned exotic animals all over Texas going largely unprotected. This is the latest incident with exotic animals in the state—something similar happens about once a year—ranging from large predators being spotted wandering in heavily populated areas to children getting mauled and killed. Due to an ineffective patchwork of regulations and a barely developed system for tracking such animals, animal welfare advocates have been fighting for harsher laws on the private possession of exotics for years. But in Texas, it’s been to no avail. While these animals were being rescued from a private residence, millions across the country were bingeing Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Madness and Mayhem. With the release of this new docuseries right at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, we stumbled upon a streaming service free-for-all. The show’s success has undoubtedly been helped by the unusual conditions tethering hordes of people to their couches—34.3 million people watched the show in its first 10 days—but it’s also a spellbinding tale in its own right, with thrills and twists and salacious surprises. Eccentric Oklahoma zoo owner and tiger breeder Joe Exotic, a self-described “gay, gun-toting cowboy with a mullet,” and a polygamist to boot, puts on quite a show. And it’s hard to look away

The problem with Tiger King is that, for a show purportedly about animal abuse, maybe it should be a little harder to watch. While the story calls attention to the mistreatment of exotic animals in the U.S., it privileges the titillating interpersonal drama as the main story. Yes, the absurdity of this issue is laid bare, as we watch with shock and awe as tigers are crowded into makeshift cages in roadside zoos. It’s reasonable to wonder: How is this allowed? But even as the creators set out to call attention to this policy, they fail, as Tiger King puts animals through the same exploitative portrayals it accuses its subjects of perpetrating: It gets swept up in the glitz and glam, the glory (and gore) of this animal-obsessed kingdom, and forgets about the animals themselves.

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In short, all of which is to say, viewers who have already watched “Tiger King” might want to go back and watch again. Yes, watching Exotic’s addiction to fame and men and guns is fascinating, but watching him abuse and neglect the wild animals he claims to care for is downright appalling. The same can be said for Antle, the owner of Myrtle Beach Safari who provides commentary throughout the series. The human drama is entertaining to watch. Even Cardi B is openly speculating about whether Baskin fed her second husband to her tigers

What’s not entertaining is the idea that thousands of wild animals are still being held captive throughout the United States and likely dealing with the same abuse (if not worse) that can be witnessed between the lines of “Tiger King.

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