What about the animals on the Cherokee reservation?

In your article of Sept. 17  (“Simple Solutions: Cherokee’s Garden Kit Program Spurs Community Wellness”), Chief Michell Hicks discussed how the community garden kits benefit the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians tribal members, stating that the Cherokee “suffer from the excesses of modern living” and “are working to overcome poor eating habits, a lack of exercise …”

This is a laudable goal, and the chief is to be commended for his promotion of gardening.

What a shame that Hicks’ concern ends with the humans on the Cherokee reservation and doesn’t extend to the animals living there. Cherokee Bear Zoo is a tawdry roadside zoo where bears are imprisoned in small concrete pits, and primates, big cats and other animals live in tiny cages. The grossly overweight bears beg for the food tossed to them by visitors — the only pleasure or stimulation allowed them in their barren cement prison cells. All the animals are clearly depressed from the isolation and confinement.

Where is Hicks’ sense of ethics and leadership? Why does he allow this cruelty on the reservation? Does he haves no compassion for the animals’ needs for healthy food, exercise, companionship and freedom?

If he does, he will close this little hellhole (owned by Barry Coggins, not a Cherokee) and have the animals transferred to quality sanctuaries.

If I’m not mistaken, the Cherokees don’t have a history of imprisoning animals for fun and profit.

Mr. Hicks, please open your heart to include the captive animals on the reservation, and use your leadership to continue the Cherokee tradition of respecting ALL creation.

Robbie Coleman



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