Dirk Arthur has the largest collection of rare cats in Nevada. They're part of his show Extreme Magic at O'Sheas. Dirks passion for the animals extends to breeding many of them to help increase their numbers. He also wants to bring more attention to their plight as endangered species.
It is way past time to put the ignorant practice of using wild animals such as tigers - especially an endangered tiger - for any entertainment purposes or personal enjoyment reasons to rest.
Your featured entertainer, Dirk Aurthur, states that he is providing a public service by exposing people to animals that they would never otherwise see in real life. That simply isn't a good enough reason. Any one of us could use that same argument and come up with all kinds of scenarios that reveal the fundamental and obvious absurdity of his claim.
Furthermore, anyone who truly grasps the nature, intelligence and inherent dignity of wild animals would agree that using them for entertainment purposes is unethical at the very least.
Dirk Arthur is financially motivated to continue this practice. It is doing him more good than it will ever do for the tigers or even the tourists that pay money to see the tigers' tricks.
Animals are far more intelligent than most people give them credit for being. Jaye [via email] –Nov 8, 2010 10:42:36 AM
I certainly see your point, Jaye, and I go back and forth on this one myself. The sticking point on this one might be that if some of these animals didn't exist in captivity, they simply wouldn't exist at all. I've been to Dirk Arthur's property (I work for Harrah's), and found him to be exceptionally compassionate and a true animal advocate. Dirk Arthur's animals don't do "tricks," and I agree with him that they love to work. It's anything but absurd that exposure to animals can shape one's lifelong opinion toward them. (My early visits to Sea World have made me a die hard animal rights proponent, for life.) I really enjoyed this NPR interview, and I've become a believer that Dirk Arthur's heart is in the right place.Scott –Nov 8, 2010 17:59:12 PM