Back in February, an exotic animal handler out of Maitland, Florida named Michael Kalmanson applied for a permit to be issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in order for Bengali tigers to be imported from Mexico. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Kalmanson planned to house and train the tigers along with the approximately thirteen other large cats are housed in a huge facility he owns located in Sorrento. Kalmanson’s permit was declined in large part due to lobbying on the part of People for the Extortion, Torture and Abuse of human beings (PETA) in which the group has been a past critic of Klamanson.
PETA objected to Klamanson’s idea by issuing a 57-page letter to the US Fish and Wildlife Service alleging that carting endangered tigers around the country as part of a circus menagerie and making them do ‘tricks’ such as jumping ring fire, hind walk, layover pyramid … will be detrimental to the propagation or survival of the species. In addition to objecting to the conditions on which the tigers would be housed during and after transport, PETA cited previous Department of Agriculture violations Klamanson was cited for such as his being slapped with a $6,000 fine in 2008 for conditions tigers he used performed for a circus.
Other so-called animal rights groups also state that Bengali tigers are endangered with a total population of less than 3,000 and that importing the tigers for entertainment would not contribute to preserving the species. Species preservation is a requirement of a license issued for importation of exotic animals that are part of an endangered species. One way importers can meet the requirement would be to donate to zoos or conservation funds.
Michael Kalmanson attempted to donate to the Minnesota Zoo Tiger Conservation only to have it returned to him in which he later found out PETA pressured the zoo not to accept his cash. Kalmanson remarked that the US is one of few countries that allows this kind of scrutiny. Most other countries its 2 or three days. Now, Kalmanson has to wait 45 days for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to another permit request he filed. Since Mexico bans using animals in circus acts the lives of the tigers he seeks to import are in danger since they can be killed.
In the meantime, PETA has vowed to keep up the pressure to deny Kalmanson the permit he seeks. Despite the Bengali tiger species considered in near extinction, consider the statement of PETA deputy general counsel Delcianna Winders who stated it was outrageous that people can buy their way out of a law designed to protect animals from exploitation. Fifty dollars for someone who has made tens of thousands of dollars exploiting endangered animals? It’s a joke.
This article is a prime example of the evil intent of groups like PETA. In this case you have a man willing to spend time and effort to import tigers of an endangered species, along with feeding and housing the animals. Michael Kalmanson’s sin is that he seeks to train the Bengali tigers in question for entertainment since he has previous supplied animals for local circuses. The intent of PETA is to deny humans the ability to enjoy the animals in the comfort of an entertainment venue. The group hates the idea of humans using animals for any purpose and will prevent, slander or demoralize any effort that involves animals to be used including and especially entertainment. The purpose of animal rights groups is not about the human treatment of animals but, in reality, the animalistic treatment of humans. Just ask people like Michael Kalamanson and employees of SeaWorld.