My Life is a Zoo Bud DeYoung and Carrie Cramer
Why is My Life is a Zoo so Bad for Wild Animals?
This couple, Bud DeYoung and Carrie Cramer, in MI claim to run a road side zoo that “rescues” animals. They seem to see their private collection as something of a zoo / sanctuary so why is this such a bad message to the uninformed public?
1. The US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS ) defines a sanctuary as a place that does not allow contact with the animals. Accredited sanctuaries do not breed, buy, sell, trade nor allow contact with their big cats. Their backyard collection of wild animals is not accredited as a sanctuary nor a zoo.
2. If people see Bud DeYoung and Carrie Cramer treating these wild animals like they are pets, they will want one too. Lions, tigers and other big cats are not regulated appropriately in the U.S. and far too many people, just like Bud DeYoung and Carrie Cramer, can go out and buy a cute cub, make money and get attention with them while they are young, and then they end up being relegated to tiny back yard prison cells, or worse.
3. Bud and Carrie openly buy animals to exhibit so they can be paid to stay home and play with animals. To pay for the wildlife only fuels the trade in exotic cats as pets. Many states prohibit keeping lions and tigers as pets, but obviously it is easy to get around that law by saying that you are “rescuing” them or that you are breeding them for conservation. To get a USDA license only requires $40 and a one page application that asks for name, address and phone. No experience required.
4. The only legitimate conservation breeding is done by zoos that are accredited by the American Zoological Association and each species has their own Species Survival Plans. The SSPs do not support the breeding of white tigers because the only way to get the white coat in lions or tigers is through severe inbreeding. Accredited zoos do not buy from backyard breeders like Bud and Carrie.
5. You only have to tune in to My Life is a Zoo for 5 minutes to figure out that they don’t know anything about big cats. They openly admit that the animals are paying their way.
6. The publicity stunt is only being used to get ratings for National Geographic, when there is a HUGE wasted opportunity to share the plight of captive big cats or their race toward extinction in the wild. Find out more about why the use of cubs for photo sessions and petting sessions is the cause of most of the abuse suffered by big cats in the U.S. http://www.bigcatrescue.org/000news/0articlesbybcr/2010PetATiger.htm
7. There less than 3,000 tigers in the wild and are about 15,000 lions in the wild today. Just ten years ago that number was closer to 50,000. Even the lions left in Africa are mostly inside parks. Often the parks use the cubs as props for people to pay to play and then they are turned out into yards, when they get too big, so that hunters can pay to kill a lion as part of their Big 5 trophy game hunts. Lions breed well so there is no reason to be breeding them in cages when there are no protected places for them to live free.
8. The money sent to support this backyard breeder should be spent on protecting habitat and paying park rangers to protect big cats. As long as people like Bud and Carrie can make a living showboating with big cats, they will continue to support the trade that causes so much misery and will continue urging others to do the same by their actions, which speak far louder than their words.
9. When you look at the cages these wild animals are spending their entire lives in, you only see concrete, a barren patch of ground and a skimpy dens. There are no trees, shrubs, grasses or anything natural to provide stimulation to the cats.
10. Big Cat Rescue, an accredited sanctuary, has to turn away more than 50 big cats each year from people who see morons playing with lions and tigers and think that would be a cool way to show off too. The cost of entry is low; about $150 for a lion cub, but they can live 20 years and cost $7,500 per cat per year to provide proper care.
It is sad that the media gives attention to this kind of publicity stunt that sends such a bad message.
The only good coming of it might be that some people will begin to question why these clowns are being promoted on National Geographic and start people thinking about why it is that people who appear this clueless have a backyard full of dangerous wild animals.
After watching the first episode it was clear to see that this will end in tragedy for the animals. The couple appear to be living in poverty, in a filthy home, wearing dirty clothes and looking like they desperately need to bathe and shave. Bud seems to have the hots for cute little Carrie and is willing to throw everything he had away to make her stop pouting. On the show they admit that they bought the chimp baby, and mortgaged the property to do it. The going rate for chimp babies is $25,000 and they say they did it to increase attendance at the “zoo” which turns out to be just rows upon rows of cages in their yard. The first episode is all about being duped into paying $10,000 to ship a baby hippo from Jakarta that they already had paid $5,000 for, again, to increase their zoo attendance. Bud exclaims, “I love my bank!” when they agree to let him go even deeper in debt on his home.
The zoo has been around for 25 years, but at the rate it is expanding and going in debt, just to make this a show people will watch and forget about by next summer, it can’t be a sustaining investment. Our prediction is that by 2012 this place will be in bankruptcy and the animals will be in dire need of rescue…again.