Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell

Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell — June 11, 2010

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL: In tonight’s “Spotlight”, a fabulous mercy mission for four rescued circus lions. These magnificent animals were freed from their pitiful, abusive existence in a Bolivian circus last month. Bolivia recently did what every country should do — banned the use of animals in circuses. These majestic animals will live out their lives at the amazing Paws Sanctuary in northern California.

Our guest tonight, CSI star, Jorja Fox, who was right there for their dramatic arrival.


JORJA FOX, ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Lion number one — come on down.

TIM PHILLIPS, ANIMAL DEFENDERS INTERNATIONAL: These lions have lived their life in a tiny, rusting, disgusting cage on the back of a lorry. Tomorrow they’re going to feel the wind blow in their face. They’re going to feel grass beneath their feet. They’re going to be as lions, possibly for the first real time in their lives.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am so thrilled to welcome actress Jorja Fox, ambassador for Animal Defenders International. Jorja, great to see you.

Tell us how you felt inside watching these majestic animals take their very first steps into freedom.

FOX: Well, Jane, thanks for having me. It was sheer magic. It was such a beautiful moment. You know, these kind of thing don’t happen very often. I wish that I can say that they did. But to see animals that have been in cages their entire lives, large, endangered, land mammals, take to grass is a spectacular thing to see.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, while in the circus, two of the rescued lions had their fang cut out so the trainers could handle them. Another had her claws ripped out one by one without any anesthesia. You know it’s time for this kind of institutionalized animal torture to stop.

Check this out.


PHILLIPS: There’s a welfare problem at the moment, but that’s in the circuses. If we shut them we can give these animals a great life. So the world is watching.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jorja, what do people need to know about the scores of animals who are still suffering in the captivity of zoos and circuses around the world?

FOX: Well, I think there’s several thing that people should know. Number one, most of these animals are on the endangered species list or on the vulnerable list. We have so few resources left on this planet. And I really think it’s our responsibility to care for the one that we have.

The unfortunate truth about zoos and circuses is that they’re cruel, they’re arcane, they are not suitable places for animals, especially large wild animals. I think we’ve evolved beyond them. I think there’s a lot of people out there who realize in the same way that we’ve evolved beyond asbestos and lead paint that we’re now at a place in our evolution where we can say, you know what, this is not a compassionate thing, this is not a smart thing. It’s a waste of resources and it’s a waste of these animals’ lives.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, when you saw the animals go from their cages and actually step on grass for the very first time, what do you think they were thinking? What kind of a transformation did they experience?

FOX: Well, these are animals that really had spent most of their lives in small pens on the back of a truck. Even though they were exhausted — it was a 14-hour journey — they weren’t fed during the journey. They did have access to water.

When they finally reached the sanctuary in a very rural, remote area in California, they leapt. They leapt like you would see small puppies leaping outside in the park somewhere.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am so happy and thank you so much. And the animals thank you.

Yey, Jorja Fox of CSI. And we love these lions. If you love them — hey, don’t go to the circus.




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