The Truth Behind “The Big Cat Public Safety Act” HR 3546

The Unlikely Conservationist

The Truth Behind “The Big Cat Public Safety Act” HR 3546

For those of you who may not have heard yet, a piece of legislation deceptively called “The Big Cat Public Safety Act” has been introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives.

On the surface this bill claims to help crack down on the  supposed “illicit interstate trade of protected wildlife species and keep the public safe from unqualified big cat owners”. The authors of this bill specifically exempted three types of big cat owners from this bill. These are AZA zoos, sanctuaries, and traveling circuses. In order to understand why these exemptions are in place it’s important to know where this bill originated. This bill was proposed and authored by Big Cat Rescue, a questionable animal rights sanctuary in Florida that has a 20 year stated plan that will eliminate all big cats from captivity including those in AZA…

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Love Letter #004 –

Dear Reader,

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that I have forgotten about you. I have just been bombarded with other tasks that have pulled me away from you. For that, I apologize dearly. I never want you to think you are ever forgotten. You are loved and known. Even if it may be by someone you have never truly met or had the ability to converse with, they love you and you are known to them – like you are to me.

Although, my dear Reader, you remain anonymous to me (some days), I feel as though I know you better than I even know myself. However, I do know what it is like to feel unacknowledged and lonely. Even if you are in the most crowded of rooms or the emptiest of places, that staggering and unnerving feeling of loneliness can crash upon you like a tidal wave.

It’s okay.

You aren’t alone in any way shape or form. Yes, I could simply state that someone in the world right now feels the exact same way as you. Yet, that is of no comfort. Even if I were to be standing right next you and whispering softly that I feel the same way, it still may be of no comfort. Sometimes, however, it may help. But if you really think about it, isn’t it no different than you being stuck in a deep hole with a person right next to you, shouting that they are in that same exact hole?

I may never have the exact words to say to help you. I may never know the best ways to comfort you. I do know this…

It WILL be okay.

Why? No reason.

I’m just kidding. There is a reason for everything – even if you may not believe in that. I do and sometimes that can be enough for the both of us.

What I’m really getting at, here, is this: In every circumstance where you feel alone, unacknowledged, and invisible, someone will always know you. Someone will acknowledge you. I will ensure that someone will willingly try to make themselves as invisible as you feel just so that they can be with YOU. So that, therefore, you will never be invisible alone. Finally, when that feeling of pure loneliness seems to want to swallow you whole, all you have to do is USE your VOICE and SOMEONE will pull you away from that void.

There is always someone there for you. If that person can’t be me, then it will be that one (or many) individual(s) that look at you and instantly their day is so much brighter. All you have to do is speak.

Nevertheless, I know that it is always easier said than done.

But, with all my being, I know that you are one of the strongest and most brilliant person out there. You can do this. You can make it through whatever trial is attempting to pull you down.

You stay strong you sexy beast. I believe in you with all that I possibly can.

With Love,

McKenzie

Love Letter #003 –

Dear Reader,

There is no disputing that you are beautiful. Or handsome. Really, it’s whatever term you prefer. Bottom line is simply this: you are not that ugly monster you may believe you are some days. A uniqueness lies within you that sets you apart. I can’t tell you what it is. Even if I knew you better than anyone else, I still don’t believe I would know exactly what it is. My reason for this is that I believe that every part of you who you are is intertwined with the unique beauty that may hide or show with the right circumstances.

Please, realize that society’s set standards are not for you. You are you. If you aren’t happy with the way you look simply because you want to better your health or are bored with your appearance, then change for you. Not for society. Not for that attractive person who works at the coffee shop. Not for anyone. I ask that you try your hardest to not be self-conscious because – again – you are beautiful.

Now, it may not be society’s ideal image that may put you in the funk because, let’s face it – it’s not always appearance that makes us feel ugly. Sometimes, it’s the way we act or feel. I know for me that when I reflect on past mistakes or things I’ve said, I feel like a monster. Doesn’t matter how big or small. Then again, sometimes, it just may be those days where you feel like nothing’s going right or you can’t do anything right. Any situation can make you feel ugly. When any of those days occur, take a deep breath. Count to ten or think of something you adore. Trust me. It gets better. There is always tomorrow.

Above all else, always remember that you are beautiful.

Or handsome.

(Seriously, these terms all mean the same thing, you gorgeous human.)

If today is rough, I hope tomorrow is better. (It’s a new day and a new start. Just breath and start fresh when you wake.)

With Love,

McKenzie

(I apologize for any grammatical errors. It’s late and I’m tired but I wanted to write this to you before my busy week started.)

Love Letter #002 –

Dear Reader,

You are here for a purpose. A very beautiful purpose; even if we may not know what it is. Honestly, if you take a second to ponder it, that purpose could be for anything. I literally mean anything. It could be as simple as being there for a person you know like the back of your hand or showing love to a complete stranger. Because, let’s face it – you may have saved their life and never realized it.

I’ve heard stories of individuals planning on ending their life but kindness derived from simple love saved them. Whether these stories are true or not is irrelevant. It’s the pure thought that the most uncomplicated form of love (or any gesture provoked from positive intentions) can turn a whole situation around.

So, please, always believe that you are worth more than you mind (or this world and society) may tell you. There are reasons why you are here – in this moment. No matter how chaotic, wrecking, or devastating your life may seem right now, there is always a reason and purpose for it. It could be to teach you a lesson to better you in the future. Or it could save a life – maybe even your own. But life always having purpose is where the majority of it can find beauty – or so, that’s what I believe. Granted, there is so much beauty to be noticed during our lifetime. Sometimes, you just need to remember to look at everything with the wonder, curiosity, and love of a child.

In conclusion, don’t ever doubt why you are here – in this moment – on this earth. Your love, kindness, and every other aspect of you can be used for positive endings. Oh! And remember to see this world with open, child-like eyes. You’ll see so much more beauty.

With Love,

McKenzie

Love Letter #001 –

Dear Reader,

No matter what has happened today – whether it be the worst or the best day – I would like you to realize that you are such an amazing individual. If it has been the best, no need to read further. However, if you have had a horrendous, bleak, grim, or simply rough day, please – continue through this letter. You may never realize how many people look forward to having your smile (and only your smile) become the highlight of their entire day. Even if you don’t feel like giving the grand, award winning grin, that’s okay. I’d rather you didn’t fake it. Just the slight, upward curl of the corners of your mouth can be pleasing enough to the human soul. Hell, even my entire persona is lightened by the smallest of smiles given by a compete stranger. Why, you may ask? Please, listen as I explain.

It simply portrays that there is still happiness in the bleakest and most melancholy of days. The smallest curvature of the lips surely presents joy even when sorrow may be the most prominent emotion in your entire being. The smile, although a seemingly small gesture, can (when positive) be utterly and nakedly uplifting. It’s contagious. A laugh may heal the soul but a smile is what unlocks the door to it.

With that in mind, don’t forget to always remember – you are such an amazing individual.

With Love,

McKenzie

Venting Upon Ranting Upon Distress

I feel rather guilty for not blogging in nearly a month’s time. Honestly, life has been a mixture of chaos, anxiety, and constant work lately. In order to ensure that I can pay a few of the bills that seem to be breathing down my neck, I am working as much as possible at my part time job – Subway – and my main job – Minnesota Wildlife Connection. (Gotta love family businesses.) Along with this, I attempt to spend as much time as possible with my boyfriend, family, and friends. Some days, I feel like I’m starting to get stretched rather thin. To add to that, I find myself beginning to stress about next semester at UMD. I thoroughly enjoy that school but next semester is giving me anxiety attacks and semester hasn’t even begun yet. Not only will I be taking 19 credits, I will be living with four other girls. One I know fairly well, but the other three are almost complete strangers. Not much gives me panic, yet, this is among the list of things that do.

Now that you have an idea of where this post will continue, I shall now begin my rant. If you choose to stay with me, I salute you. If not, I understand. This is mostly for my benefit. I have a belief that it is soothing if not therapeutic to write out whatever may be the source of stress.

I shall begin with Subway. It’s a simple, repetitive job. However, it is the type of job where you can’t help but stop and question yourself, “Why am I so stressed when this job is so damn easy?”. There are days where it has it’s challenges but they are never different. There are a set of tasks that need to be completed each day and so far, they have yet to change. I’d say I get stressed with how mundane the job becomes; as well as some of the management. There are days where the only few notions keeping me from tearing my hair straight from the roots would be my coworker’s presence and humor; as well as the fact that I can’t work there the majority of the summer. The reason for that last part would be the family business. (I will elaborate after I show you my amazing list of all the projects/jobs I have this summer. You may kindly thank my old roommate for this “newfound love” of lists…)

My main projects/jobs this summer consist of the following at the business:

  • Train 3 wolf pups
  • Train 3 silver fox (Originally, I thought it was going to only be 2)
  • Train 3 grey fox
  • Train (at least) 3 red fox
  • Train 1 Marble fox (This may turn into 2 Marbles)
  • Possible train 2 Bobcat
  • Manicure new tentative enclosure settings
  • Continue training for 4 wolves and 1 coyote
  • Expand training for 2 Red fox

The list may be longer but this is what I can currently recall. I’m excited for this challenges but can you see why this may stress me out a bit? Yes, my dad is a handler as well but he also has other projects of his own. (Such as furthering the training of the bears and large cats; building new pens and cages; dealing with clients; and so on so forth. Are you catching my drift?) Besides what I have listed above, work will continue to consist of the normal activities that need to be completed – such as cleaning, feeding, watering, yard maintenance, pen and enclosure maintenance, house and office maintenance, etcetera. To coincide with this, I will also be working alongside my dad with clients from all over the globe.

I don’t mind doing this job though. I love working with the animals, meeting new people on almost a daily basis, and learning new things. However, it can just be a bit much some days – just like any other job or passion. Yet, this life is just that, though: my passion, my job, the blessings God has given me, and mine. I wouldn’t want this part any different. Everything else… well…. can change some days. Then again, I like those the way they are, too, because they make me grow as a person. Nonetheless, can you also see why I’ll be unable to work at Subway for a majority of this summer? Yes, I’ll have to venture back with my metaphoric animals ears laid back in distaste and my nose scrunched in annoyance. Still, in this life, you need money to survive. Especially if you’re a college student. Speaking of which, this brings me to my next (and last) issue of the evening.

As of May 14th, I finished my freshman year of college. The pure fact that I wasn’t put on academic probation or that I got a 2.6 average GPA astounds me immensely. Mostly because I lost a large majority of my motivation during second semester. I blame that on the pure fact that I didn’t have a job. It seems to be ingrained in me to need to be working outside or at a facility that keeps me rather busy. Damn you work ethic… (Thanks dad..) Next year, with the amount of classes that I need to take, as well as the fact that I can’t drop any of them, sends me into a panic. I’m worried about failing courses – something that does not appeal to me. In fact, I had it happen and the amount of disappointment I had in myself was enough to cry. (Feeling like a failure doesn’t appeal to me either.) Needless to say, it’s adding to my stress levels and I have had more “mental breakdowns” the last few weeks than I have had in the last two years.

I hate to say it but I have a feeling that I’m starting to have anxiety become an issue for my well-being. I notice that this began when college did and it worries me (hah) that I may need to contact my doctor and try to find a solution to preventing this. However, I already have an idea of something that can help. It’s not a medication. I’m already taking – well, kind of taking – a medication for the migraines that occurred very often and rapidly throughout my second semester. (Another topic to discuss with my doctor…) To help me deal with the stress, I would like to make either my German Shepherd or my Marble Fox my emotional support animal. They are similar to a service animal but don’t require the amount of training to certify them as such. My reasoning beyond this consists of the fact that I feel much calmer and focused when I’m around the animals I work on a daily basis. My panic/anxiety attacks seem less when I have been outside working intermittently alongside or with them. I mean, my boyfriend has been beyond wonderful and understanding when I randomly break down in tears at night but I can’t drag him around at school or my new home. He has a life and is willing to do the best he can when distance or our schedules separate us. (Seriously, I have bagged myself a great guy. I mean, he is pretty damn good to me so far and I appreciate it more than words can describe.) Nonetheless, I need a solution before school starts. I refuse to miss a semester due to falling into depression because of intense anxiety levels.

If you stuck with me to the end, I thank you. These are not your issues to deal with but it’s always nice to have someone essentially listen – or read – your words of distress. There is a sort of comfort that I find in that idea.

Carrots

To the young adult male sitting two tables down from me in the Library Annex – I’m sorry. I’m sure me eating my carrots is very loud and you seem to be studying incredibly hard. But the thing is… I’m hungry. I can’t help it.

I know I should be continuing my studying as well, instead of writing this apology note to you – which you’ll never read – but I can’t hep that my mind is wandering. And it’s been so long since I’ve mindlessly written about nothing in particular.

I just looked up to see that you head is dipped down low. Are you collecting your thoughts? Resting your mind? Or Taking a nap?

No. You must be diligently working.

Or just trying to muster any amount of self control to not yell at me for chewing so loudly.

Again, I’m sorry. My stomach is a fairly demanding organ at times. Plus, these carrots taste so good.

I’d offer you some but I feel that you would finally snap at me for further interrupting you.

A few more and then I’ll be done for a while. Just for your sanity.