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Too many big cats

By Michelle Johnson


The current Bulgari ad in American Express "Departures" magazine and on billboards around the world features actress Julianne Moore holding lion cubs to showcase Bulgari's products. Though some may think it is adorable, I find it reprehensible! Having lion cubs, only weeks old used as photo props to sell designer merchandise, is unacceptable to me and should be outlawed.

I know the reality of where these lion cubs will end up. The breeder can't possibly afford to feed, house and care for dangerous carnivores, once they're adults, for another 20 years. Every accredited big cat facility in our country is full. They will, in all likelihood, flow into the pipeline of the illegal exotic animal trade. When we see restaurants serving lion meat, that could be the future for these cubs.

Our country has more tigers and lions languishing in cages here than all the wild ones left roaming our planet. That isn't a statistic to be proud of! I do not want more and more babies ripped from their mothers so the mothers can be bred over and over again, to be used purely as marketing tools by a corporation.

Both Bulgari and American Express have corporate mission statements that promise a "commitment to social responsibility" and holding themselves "to the highest ethical standards." This outright abuse of an endangered and threatened species is just the opposite.

It is time to enact legislation that will put an end to the breeding of big cats in our country. We can not depend on the ethical character of corporations or breeders to do this. It is up to our legislators to protect the public, as well as enforce animal welfare by halting out-of-control breeding.

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