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Ever been impressed by a picture of a wild animal in nature? Well, it may not have been as impressive as it appeared. Many photographers capture these images on game farms—cruel businesses that rent out animals for staged wildlife photography sessions.
One such company, the Minnesota Wildlife Connection, run by Lee Greenly, has been operating unlawfully for years and has a long history of violating federal animal welfare and wildlife protection laws. Greenly was convicted of falsifying records after claiming that a bear named Cubby, whom he had arranged for a country music singer to slaughter in a confined area with a bow and arrow, was a lawfully hunted wild animal. His license was subsequently revoked, but that hasn’t deterred him from continuing to exhibit animals illegally.
The popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King gave a peek into the wildlife-trafficking trade and showed how these animals are exploited for human gain, and game farms like the Minnesota Wildlife Connection are part of this cruel cycle. Animals at these facilities are reportedly kept on chains or confined to cramped, barren cages and have apparently been deprived of food and sometimes even forced to perform under the threat of an electric shock prod. Many species of animals are put at risk, including bears, cougars, and wolves—the latter of whom mate for life and live in close-knit family units. Treating wildlife like props is a form of speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.
Game farms are prisons for the animals who are bred and exploited for bogus photo shoots. The perfect shot is not worth any animal’s suffering. Please ask these photographers to stop exploiting animals at game farms.