Rhetoric on Tony the Truckstop Tiger boils over into truckstop villification

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It’s been a little while since I checked in on the efforts by animal-rights activists and others — including a large coterie of truck drivers — to force owners of the Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete, La., to give up their caged Bengal tiger, Tony. The latest efforts including a lawsuit filed this week whose plaintiffs are the “Animal Legal Defense Fund and former [Louisiana] state Rep. Warren Triche Jr.,” reported the Associated Press. Plaintiffs are arguing that permitting for the truckstop to display the tiger, last “issued in 2009 and renewed last year violates state law,” AP reported.

But thrown into the messaging mix from animal rights activists is True Blood TV vampire Kristin Bauer, who plays Pam in the HBO show. Here video plea to interested parties is reasonable enough, arguing against the close confinement of such a large animal. But the folks she’s putting in with have now officially taken over-the-top rhetoric, in some cases at the expense of the trucking community, to new levels of absurdity.

TRUE BLOOD BEAUTY BITING MAD OVER CAGED TIGER AT LOUISIANA TRUCK STOP, read the subject of the email blast ALDF sent out about the video and lawsuit. And Bauer’s notation of the “noise of diesel engines and the stench of gasoline” that no doubt waft through Tony’s cage on a daily basis became in the ADLF note the “stench of fuel and the deafening noise of diesel engines.” I don’t know about you, but “deafening” is the last word I’d use to describe an idling diesel.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll admit that when I heard about the Truckstop Tiger for the first time, years ago now, I was initially as shocked as likely most of you that such an exhibit even existed, but villification of truckers’ places of business writ large, such as the ALDF is employing here, is unfortunate at best. Tens of thousands of drivers live day-in, day-out with the sound of a diesel well beyond idle, it’s certain.

It’s also certain, however, that the large majority of U.S. drivers chose where they live, though, of course. Such is not the case with Tony. The Kristin Bauer vid is below. Get involved if you feel strongly about the subject.

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Read the AP story at the Beaumont Enterprise newspaper site.

If you missed fellow Truckers News editor Carolyn Magner’s appearance on Allen & Donna Smith’s “Truth About Trucking Live” last night, you missed a great discussion of the issue of dealing with crime against truckers out on the road. You can hear the archived program at the show’s site here.

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