As promised, we will occasionally be offering up a variety of petitions and action opportunities. If you find them intriguing, horrifying, praiseworthy or just fun, please take a moment to add yourself to the effort and see what comes of it.
Today’s petition is in response to the recent killing of 48 exotic animals in Zanesville, Ohio. It is bizarre and mysterious stories like this that grab the attention of the average citizen, causing them to pause and give thought to animal rights. I have had more friends mention this story to me than I expected. There is genuine shock and heartache in their voices and in their eyes as they express their reaction. For those of us more deeply embedded in the world of animal rights advocacy, the photos of dead bears, lions, tigers and wolves may not be as viscerally shocking, but the tragedy is still clear. These animals were kept on land owned by a man named Terry Thompson in a state that is one of only seven that have no bans on ownership of exotic animals. The level of care that was provided to these animals is unclear and the setup itself has been referred to as a “farm,” a “game-preserve,” and a “menagerie,” so it is difficult to know exactly what kind of place this was. What is known is that the animals were released by Thompson, who then committed suicide, and then all but a few were killed by police. The event was preventable.
This petition is directed to Ohio Governor John Kasich, asking him to sign legislation that would ban ownership of exotic animals in Ohio. This is the strongest petition I have been able to find for this cause. There are currently over 85,000 signatures! As someone who signs a lot of petitions I can attest–that is a big number for a petition going to a governor’s desk. Since the petition began, legislation called “Phillips Bill” is rushing through Ohio government. If the governor signs, it would create regulations for exotic animal ownership in Ohio, but would not ban it.
The online petition started by Liz Dumler, 22, of Athens, is linked through an organization called Change.org. Each time someone signs the petition, an email goes to Kasich’s office and the Department of Natural Resources as well. Now is your chance to keep the number growing and turn your frustration and heartache into action. Here is where you do that: