A lot of talk surrounding Tiger Talks being entertainment at the Allen county fair leaves room for discussion - yet nothing beats going straight to the source and learning for yourself. An interview with Doug Terranova offered much information not commonly known or shared by the media. It is often necessary to find out facts and portions of stories left out to get a clear picture.
Doug Terranova has spent 42 years caring for and working with animals. This has been in zoos, sanctuaries, and privately. Terranova Enterprises is licensed by the USDA under the Animal Welfare Act and the facility is Accredited by the United States Zoological Association.
While most people might not understand issues surrounding exotic animals as pets or working, those living with them daily tend to have extensive knowledge and experience.
Five things you may might not know about Tiger Talks and Terranova Enterprises:
Every exhibitor is licensed under the Animal Welfare Act. The AWA is written with a lot of gray areas. The language is very unclear. Government Lawyers love it because its easier to defend. Because the AWA is unclear it is open to interpretation from each inspector. What one inspector may pass one day in Iowa may not be ok with an inspector in Missouri. Unfortunately, this allows some (not all) inspectors to insert their own political beliefs and emotions into their jobs.
Terranova Enterprises and Doug Terranova WERE the subject of many charges by USDA including failure to safely handle elephants, cubs dying on the road, and having a cub confiscated for lack of a proper diet. This gives great ammunition to the Animal Rights groups. They love to bring that up. What they don't bring up is that the Government wanted $920,000 in fines AND revocation of our exhibitors license.
After Three years, over $135,000, and a hearing that ended up being split because of the amount of time and evidence our defense had. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) dismissed all of the most serious charges. We were fined $25,000 for several minor infractions. Several times in her written decision the ALJ admonished USDA officials for "forgetting"or "not recalling" conversations or chain of events including who was at the meeting when it was decided to confiscate the cub and who made the final determination. Every reason they used to confiscate this cub from my associate (it was never ours) was dismissed. She also used language such as "less than truthful", "contrary to inspectors statements", and admonished them for shredding documents that were asked for by our defense. the "violation" involving vet care and not having a "qualified" vet exam our animals was also thrown out.
We used a licensed veterinarian that was an Adjunct Professor at Iowa State University Vet School. The judge ruled that our vet was "at least" as qualified, if not more, than both the inspectors. She further stated in her written decision that if the inspectors had gone by their own expectations, THEY weren't qualified to inspect us. If we were as awful with our animals as activists alleged, we would not have our USDA license nor be able to perform. We are inspected more times a year than day care centers and nursing homes.
Unfortunately, in our travels we run into people that are emotionally charged with this issue. Many of them have not seen any of our performances, yet make false claims about our show hoping to sway public opinion. All we ask is that you look for yourself. Come and visit, watch our demonstrations, then decide on your own!