Friday, February 20, 2015

White tigers do not belong at Quad-City Air Show

As an Iowan who has attended the Quad-City Air Show, I was surprised to learn that organizers would put their reputation at risk by hiring a tiger exhibitor. The Royal White Tiger Discovery Exhibit is operated by Michael Todd, who has been repeatedly cited by federal authorities for violating animal protection laws.

Tigers range freely for up to hundreds of miles in the wild. When hauled around the country for public display, they're crammed into tiny cages, in which they can barely turn around or escape from their own waste. All captive white tigers are inbred, which can lead to serious congenital defects for the ones who survive.

Todd has partnered with notorious big cat exhibitor Marcus Cook, despite having been warned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that doing so is illegal. Cook's license to exhibit animals was permanently revoked after he racked up nearly 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Exposing tigers to the noise and crowds of an air show is cruel — and puts visitors at risk.

The Quad-City Air Show should permanently ground this ill-conceived plan and go back to focusing on what it does best: wowing us with a dazzling air show.

Heather Carlson

Windsor Heights, Iowa


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