Free April's calf!
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People around the world are watching the live internet cam cast of April the giraffe in her cage at "Animal Adventure Park," waiting for her to give birth.
They should be more disturbed than amused.
When April delivers, her calf won't emerge to the warm and soft earth of the vast sunny African savannah.
April's calf will drop to the cement floor in a cage where just a step or two will take it to the other side, which will be its home until it is separated from its mother and sold off to a breeder.
Instead of the native African vegetation that a giraffe's digestive system is designed for, April's calf will be fed giraffe junk food sold to tourists for $3 a cup ($2 for refills)
Sunshine? Looks like there's some through a window, but otherwise the light appears to be fluorescent, which is on into the night for the benefit of the web cam gawkers and snoops. Tropical climate? Nope. Snowy upstate New York is not the central African tropics. Free range on the savanna? You're kidding, right? April's calf will be born into the custody of a for-profit business that cages exotic African wildlife in tiny pens with cement floors and florescent lighting, to be put on display at $12 a ticket and then sold to breeders.
April's calf will be caged inside for much of the year. Bears and wolves (more about them at this "park" in a moment) are native to upstate New York and can endure the bitter winters. But a day outside for about half the year would kill giraffes like April and Oliver and the calf they're about to deliver into such a hostile climate. Still, don't miss the irony of the name April's owners have given her, no doubt for marketing purposes.
All three of these magnificent wild beasts - along with the monkeys, lions, zebras, wolves, bears, buffalo and other wild animals that this private, for-profit operation has locked up far from their natural homes, climates and food sources - are just tourist bait for the Jordan Patch family that owns them. Any "adventure" at this park is for the Patches and their tourists, not for the animals they've locked up to make their living.
Patch recently extended his money grab by inviting Toys R Us to slap its corporate logo over his live video stream of April pacing across the few feet of her cage awaiting delivery. The logo includes the corporation's trademark goofy cartoonish baby giraffe popping up cheerfully from the company name. Cute? Yeah! Wanna cuddle with a baby giraffe? Of course! That's the point for Toys R Us, which sells stuffed giraffe toys on its web site for up to $399.99. Hurry while supplies last!
That this is all about the money was made clear when Patch shut down a YouTube feed to his cam, citing copyright infringement. Want to see April drop her calf to the cement of her cell? That special viewing is now available only on his website, where I'm guessing Toys R Us pays for every click. Sorry YouTube viewers! But drop by Jordan's web site, which I'm guessing is earning him pennies a click from Toys R Us.
During the runup to that, everybody's winning. Except April, Oliver and the calf that's on the way to its cement-floor plunge and a year in jail. Here's what Jordan has next in store for you and the calf: a naming contest intended to rake in even more dollars. Please submit only anthropomorphic names. April and Oliver names no longer available.
And here's the truth about all this, from PETA:
"Most zoo exhibits provide animals with few, if any, opportunities to express natural behavior or make choices in their daily lives. Animals are closely confined, lack privacy, and have extremely limited possibilities for mental stimulation or physical exercise. These conditions often result in abnormal and self-destructive behavior, also known as 'zoochosis.'
"In many cases, wide-ranging animals, such as bears and big cats, pace or turn repeatedly in circles. Primates and birds mutilate themselves, and chimpanzees and gorillas become overly aggressive. Hooved animals lick and chew on fences and make unnatural facial movements. Giraffes twist their necks, bending their heads back and forth repeatedly. Elephants bob their heads and sway from side to side."
The neurotic behavior in April and Oliver's cages - they're separated - is on display for anyone actually paying attention while watching the cam. I've been doing it for a month, mostly out of fear that April is so stressed that her calf will be stillborn. Every time I click on, whatever the hour, Oliver and April are usually pacing relentlessly in their brightly lit jail cells, as much as they can given the size of the cells. Back and forth. Day and night.
Have a look now. See for yourself. "The countdown has begun!" the web page has been hawking for a month, to be sure you keep giving them web clicks and bumping up their Toys R Us $$$. I just gave the site another click.... 12:55 in the morning on Friday March 31. The flourescent is on, April is pacing and Jordan's worn out "countdown" to delivery still isn't delivering. But keep those cam clicks coming!
Isn't the stress of giving birth enough for this exploited animal?
CALL JORDAN PATCH at (607) 760-4429, and ask him if April's calf will spend its life as his tourist bait in an upstate New York jail cell, like his or her parents. Ask what he's contributing from what he'll earn over their lives to scientific research and conservation groups working to preserve the giraffe species in Africa, where they're endangered.
Better yet, ask Jordan to retire April and Oliver to their native Africa, along with their newborn.
When the countdown ends, what April delivers will look like a giraffe to you. To Jordan, it will be just another cash cow. The calf will be April's fourth. Isn't that enough?
If you're looking for a more educational wildlife adventure, visit this webpage:
You can contribute to the effort to save this amazing species here:
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