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America's Trade In Exotic Animals46:23
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Where the wild things are. The Ohio animal tragedy and America’s trade in exotic creatures.

The carcasses of rare animals lay on the ground at the Muskingum County Animal Farm in Zanesville, Ohio. Sheriff's deputies shot 48 animals , including 18 rare Bengal tigers and 17 lions, after the owner of the private animal farm threw their cages and then committed suicide. (Photo obtained by AP)
The carcasses of rare animals lay on the ground at the Muskingum County Animal Farm in Zanesville, Ohio. Sheriff's deputies shot 48 animals , including 18 rare Bengal tigers and 17 lions, after the owner of the private animal farm threw their cages and then committed suicide. (Photo obtained by AP)

The images out of Ohio last week are still shocking. Still haunting. Piles of great beasts by no means native to Ohio. Sprawling and shot dead in mounds. Eighteen Bengal tigers. Seventeen lions. Eight bears. More. Just stunning.

And of course, there were more in the private menagerie of the now-dead Terry Thompson in Zanesville. Giraffes, camels, monkeys. The bizarre Ohio release and slaughter tragedy last week has lit up the large private trade in exotic animals in this country, and just how wild it can be.

This hour On Point: lions, tigers, bears and American law.
-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Tom Borgerding, Managing Editor and Reporter for Columbus’s public radio station WOSU

Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States

Martine Collette, Founder of the Wildlife WayStation and Animal Expert for the City of Los Angeles

Peter Laufer
, Journalist, broadcaster, documentary filmmaker and a professor of journalism at the Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Author of No Animals Were Harmed

This program aired on October 24, 2011.

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