I believe in equal opportunity joy.
ILoveJorja lives in the DC area and when Jorja went to Capitol Hill last month, so did she!
You can read all about it on CSI Forever Online, and her personal account on her profile at CSIFO or if you can’t get there (I know some places block WetPaint, like my office), she gave me permission to repost it here for you.
Before I do, let me remind you that you can donate to the TEAPA fundraiser! Please visit our Fundraising Page if you have the time and cash.
Well, your fearless leader, ILoveJorja, has returned. Make that “fearful,” you’ll see why. Jorja Fox and Bob Barker joined a group of dedicated animal rights professionals and activists at a press conference in Washington DC on Nov 2. The meeting was in a Senate hearing room in support of a bill sponsored by Congressman James Moran (D-Va) called the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, “which aims to restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses, effectively bringing to the end the random cruelty and neglect associated with circuses of this nature.” It’s specifically aimed at traveling circuses, of which exotic animals such as big cats live in deplorable conditions in solitary confinement in cages that are small enough to transport. Or elephants, which are chained and hobbled in restraints. These magnificent beasts are beaten, chained, tortured, prodded with electricity, and sometimes starved or go without water to get them to perform tricks. They gave me a press packet, which I will post soon.
Congressman Moran spoke first, about the nature of the legislation and what it hopes to achieve. Then a Dr Mel Richardson, an exotic animal veterinarian, and Jan Creamer of ADI, who was instrumental in the airlift of the Bolivian circus lions earlier this year. As was Tim Phillips of Animal Defenders International, who began his remarks by saying, “Well, it’s taken 28 years to get here,” meaning to get some sort of legislation started in Congress.
It was quite a day. I left at 5 AM on no sleep, hit a major traffic jam, so it took over five hours…I was sweating bullets that I would have gone all that way and missed it. The trip should have taken 2 ½ hours. I got lost at the last exit. Panic. Found the building by steering toward Washington Monument. Parked illegally. Got thru security. Found the floor, found the room, with 20 minutes to spare. Bluffed my way in by saying I edit an online newspaper. It was press only. TV and such. Two girls were turned away right afterwards who were just fans.
So in comes Jorja Fox. With Bob Barker and the congressman, and ADI people. Whoa. She’s just as lovely in person. You know the saying that the camera adds weight? She looks even thinner than on TV. That smooth skin is really like porcelain. She looked pale-skinned and her hair is dark and curly at the ends. Simply dressed, open necked blouse and dark sweater. She looks right at me. OMG. So the press conference begins. Congressman Moran is sponsoring the bill to ban traveling circuses using exotic animals like big cats and elephants. They start talking about the abuse these animals suffer. Jorja is very polite and lets most of the others speak first. Bob Barker was particularly eloquent.
Jorja Fox was introduced and she spoke to the question some have raised to her: “I saw my first elephant in a circus as a kid, why can’t my kids see them in circuses?” Her answer, “We teach our kids what is fun, and what these animals go through is not fun.” Even if the legislation passes, and Rep Moran doesn’t see it passing in this session, it would take a year to go into effect. The 50 states have a patchwork of legislation and some, like Ohio, are more liberal in the ownership of exotic animals, and so we have the tragedy of Zanesville, in which all those tigers and bears and so on were let loose and then had to be killed. The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act would be an umbrella over all those laws and provide a safety net.
They showed a short video of animals being abused. Heartbreaking.
It was over in about an hour. Jorja waded right into the 30 or so people, getting her picture taken, giving autographs. I was just getting my nerve up when she was whisked away for an interview. I hung around and listened in. My mouth felt like it was full of glue. I froze up. I’m thinking to myself I’m blowing it, I’ll kick myself, say something! ask one of those dozens of questions you’ve been thinking up!
So she finished with the interview, walks up to me, sees that I’m a wreck, and sticks out her hand for me to shake! I mumbled something. What a dope I am. She approached me! Feeling sorry for me! I shook hands–hers are tiny and bony, and the palm was damp, I realized maybe she’s nervous too. Jorja said, Thank you for coming, and then the others called her to go to lunch.
The best part was during the talk…she looked right at me and gave me the sweetest slow smile. What a moment. Of course I smiled back. That’s the memory I will treasure.
So there it is. I got to see Jorja Fox in person. Yes, it was worth it. No parking ticket either. There was a notice saying This will be ticketed. I moved my car to near the Museum of the Am Indian and victorytheatre called.
Yes, it confirmed what everyone says about Jorja, all those complimentary things. She was gracious with everyone, passionate and articulate about this good cause, and very kind.
Thank you, Jorja Fox, for all you do and all you are.
And of course she took pictures!
And don’t forget to donate to the ADI – TEAPA fundraiser this winter!