I too was disappointed that the IPE chose to showcase exotic animals this year and agree with Mike and Joanne Douglas letter that it is a step backwards.
A simple search online can educate you with the same information Donna Calver spoke of in her letter to The Morning Star and in my opinion give a more accurate picture of animals in their natural habitat.
I am unsure when it became the right of humans to see wild animals up close and/or ride them.
Life is full of haves and have nots, but I do not believe that the suffering of another living creature is justified so a child can be ‘educated’ or entertained.
The SPCA has a lot of valuable information, as do other websites, which document the stress travelling from town to town and being forced to perform or provide rides causes these animals, and this does not even include the neglect and abuse that can occur in these types of shows.
Information can also be found on the intelligence and emotions these animals are capable of, and the harm that is caused by being a part of these types of ‘entertainment.’
I also believe if an animal is rescued from a cruel situation, every effort should be made to locate them to an environment as similar as possible to their natural habitat.
Putting them in a circus or travelling show is just substituting one bad situation for another. It is my understanding that some of the animals at the IPE were rented by the touring company from another company in Ontario.
Sadly this is a common occurrence for these animals. They are rented to one travelling show after another and this leads me to question how well the ‘handlers’ really know these animals and their needs.
I think the North Okanagan needs to get with the times and follow the steps of their neighbors (Salmon Arm, Kelowna) and adopt a bylaw to not allow exotic/wild animal performances.
Ideas to get your opinion heard can be found on the SPCA website.
S. Birban-Lauman, Vernon