Tuesday 25 April 2023

2023 Carole Baskin and Nathan Winograd are America's two top animal advocates

I am going to have the temerity to name America's two greatest animal welfare advocates as at 2023. They are Carole Baskin and Nathan Winograd. And neatly, we can divide their efforts into two camps. 

Carole Baskin is an animal advocate for cats, specifically the big cats, wild cats in general and even wildcat hybrids (she hates the idea of creating wildcat hybrids). 

And on the domestic cat side, Nathan Winograd, has been and continues to be a tireless campaigner for the rights of rescue animals in America's shelters and pounds.

Baskin and Winograd
Baskin and Winograd. Image: MikeB based in images in the public domain.

Carole Baskin

You might know that she campaigned relentlessly for an improvement in welfare of big cats. There were far too many at private zoos all across America. America was and still is - until the Big Public Safety Act fully takes effect - the nation where there were the greatest number of big cat 'pets' in private zoos.

Join us in celebrating the passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act which banned contact with big cats and their cubs, and phases out private ownership of big cats! We have campaigned for this change since the 90s and on Dec. 20, 2022 it was signed into law!  This is the first step to saving wild cats, in the wild, where they belong. - Carole Baskin on BCR at May 2023.

There are an estimated 20,000 big cats kept in private ownership in the US. Carole Baskin's rescue center in Florida, Big Cat Rescue (BCR), picked up some of the pieces of bad big cat ownership. 

With her job effectively done she is now selling BCR and finding alternative outlets for her passion to improve animal welfare. The substantial money that she will raise will be used in projects I understand.

Carole Baskin, almost single-handedly, instigated and forced through the enactment of the Big Cat Safety Act in the UK. It is she who has saved the abuse of so many cubs from roadside tiger and lion cub petting sessions. 

And the abuse that followed with the adults becoming commercially useless beyond a certain age so what happened to them? They were probably euthanised.

The horrible exploitation of big cubs has ended. Although Carole Baskin is the prime mover and shaker in ending the private ownership of big cats in America, we have to thank indirectly a man who is currently in jail for conspiracy to murder Carole Baskin. His name is Joe Exotic. He was the biggest private zoo owner in America at one time.

He hates Carole Baskin because she was so strongly against his kind of operation. His presence motivated her. He hated her so much that he conspired to kill her. And he was found out and was successfully prosecuted for that conspiracy and animal abuse offences.

Carole Baskin triumphed over the private zoo brigade. What a woman.

Big Cat Safety Act

Registration: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of America announced on 18 April 2023 that individuals who own big cats which includes cougars and hybrids of the species must register them with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service by the end of the day on June 18, 2023. That is in order to comply with the requirements of that act.

Current owners can keep their animals provided they are registered as per the act and provided that they abide by state and federal regulations. But once the animal's life has ended, that person will no longer be able to own and/or possess a big cat.

The act allows existing owners to continue with ownership until their zoo inventory no longer exists because of the end of the lifespans of these animals.  Of course, it does not apply to bona fide zoos and other authorized establishments.  It applies to John Doe, the individual who fancies possessing a big cat.

Nathan Winograd

He is a great man who has fought tirelessly for a no-kill policy in all of America's animal shelters and pounds. He believes that it is possible for an animal shelter to greatly improve their rehoming of animals in their charge. 

He believes that it is possible to not euthanise any or hardly any animals at shelters (90% save rate is the target) provided the administrators use all means possible to both prevent taking in rescue animals and facilitate the adoption of those animals.

By preventing intake, I don't mean physically preventing it. I mean that they should do all they can to improve cat and dog ownership in the area where they operate. There are two sides to the cat and dog rescue situation. 

There are those that abandon their cats and dogs when they don't need to or they shouldn't and there are those that don't adopt those cats and dogs because they're rather buy a purebred cat or not adopt.

It's down to the people involved in organising animal shelters to tackle both those challenges in my view. In the UK, for instance, there has been a surge in adoptions i.e. purchases of purebred cats over rescue cats during 2022. According to Cats Protection, 38% of people adopted cats during 2022 adopted a purebred cat.

The point is this though that Nathan Winograd continues through his newsletters, speeches and website to improve the running of animal shelters in America to save lives.


There is one aspect of Mr Winograd's argument that I disagree with, however. He hates PETA and believes that it is an organisation which kills cats unnecessarily. Winograd and PETA have entirely different point of view on some important aspects of animal rescue. I think they should work together by finding common ground.

However, both PETA and Winograd have very strong views which means that it is unlikely they will be able to find common ground.

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