Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance

Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance

Jason Hribal

Language: English

Pages: 125

ISBN: 2:00240063

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“Until the lion has his historian,” the African proverb goes, “the hunter will always be a hero.” Jason Hribal fulfills this promise and turns the world upside down. Taking the reader deep inside the circus, the zoo, and similar operations, he provides a window into the hidden struggle and resistance that occurs daily. Chimpanzees escape their cages. Elephants attack their trainers. Orcas demand more food. Tigers refuse to perform. Indeed, these animals are rebelling with intent and purpose. They become the true heroes, and our understanding of them will never be the same.

“Animal fables, jungle books, Aesopian tales were the discursive evidence of cross-species interaction that survived into modernity as children’s literature. When the carceral replaced the domestic system, as the zoos, circuses, and laboratories became the primary site of interaction replacing the barnyard and the wild wood, the animals began to resist. Here are their hidden stories. Jason Hribal takes us behind the zoo scenes, the phoney exhibits, and cute displays to reveal an ugly economy of exploitation, international trafficking in exotic animals, over-work, cruelty in training, incessant and insolent teasing from the public. He chronicles the escapes, the assaults, the demand of food, and the refusals to reproduce that resulted. Here is animal resistance neither “wild” nor “instinctual” but responses to specific injustices. Single-minded, eccentric, and delightfully cranky, Hribal is the annalist nonpareil of animal escape. With light but unforgiving misanthropy he carefully names the animals (the pachyderms – Jumbo and Tinkerbelle, the primates – Moe, Kumang, Little Joe, the sea lions, dolphins, and Orcas (Corky, Kasatka) while leaving the keepers, trainers, and showmen in shameful anonymity. From the escape of Tatiana, the Siberian tiger from the San Francisco zoo, to the latest orca killing Hribal relentlessly gathers the evidence to witness these risings of the creatures.” —Peter Linebaugh, author of The Magna Carta Manifesto and The London Hanged

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into her cramped, little home. The elephant, apparently not liking the idea, refused to enter, and the man began to apply pressure and force to further stress his demand that she move into her hut. This was when Daisy decided to retaliate. She grasped the handler with her trunk and pitched him high into the air. When he landed, Daisy gored and crushed her keeper. Minutes later the police arrived. They located the elephant, surrounded her, and gunned Daisy down. Attempting to explain why this

servicing entire countries with horses during periods of war, such as the British in the Boer War or the Allies in World War I. At any one time, his Missouri farm had up to 2000 horses living on site, awaiting shipment. It was not until 1904 that Hall first purchased an exotic species: two camels. But from that point on, his stock in such animals would only increase, eventually including a large selection of tigers, lions, and elephants. In 1912, one very conspicuous member of Hall’s inventory

millennium. In late 2000, Moja, who had given birth to a calf eleven months previous, and Victoria, as she was named, was preparing to observe her first birthday. She was, in fact, the first US-born African elephant to survive beyond the age of one since 1985. The next time Moja made the news was in November of 2002. She and Victoria were being led on an early morning walk, when they decided to make an unscheduled stop outside of a zoo cafe. Their handlers did not approve, for any pauses or

was over sixty miles away. Could a macaque really pull off such an extraordinary feat? Alphie was born in Texas. He was brought to Pittsburg as a young macaque to work in the children’s section of the city’s zoological park. Over the subsequent years, Alphie grew into adulthood and sired several children of his own. He was, by all reports, a popular figure at the zoo—among both visitors and keepers. His fame would grow even further on July 23, 1987. The previous night, a severe thunderstorm had

or Evelyn, have been more active or immediate in their approach to resistance. Some have tried to batter down the doors with brute strength. Jim used this method once in Los Angeles, and succeeded. Togo, a gorilla at the Toledo Zoo, once ripped off the entire roof of his exhibit. He also, on several occasions, bent the bars of his cage and attempted to slip out between the gaps. But, perhaps, his craftiest idea came when the zoo placed him behind a thick layer of shatter-resistant glass. “Let’s

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