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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Not So Picture Purrfect

Published 02/13/09
By Tracy Lesperance, Vice President of Development

What’s wrong with this picture?

Imagine you’re on a lovely cruise with your family, enjoying the gorgeous weather and various ports of call. Your ship docks in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. You de-board to explore and come upon a crowd of people — camera flashes are going off — and as the crowd parts a bit, you now see the hut in front of which they are standing actually houses a small, 4'x5'x1.5' cage containing a tiger cub and a lion cub. You are being encouraged — for a fee — a “donation” according the person running the operation — to have your photo taken while holding one of the cubs.

You stand back and watch for a few minutes, getting a very uneasy feeling about what is transpiring. The cubs seem very agitated. After asking a few questions, you surmise the “donation” is probably not at all what it seems.

This very situation recently occurred to Anthony Venturi and his family. They discussed how they felt about what they witnessed and decided upon returning home that they would research the validity and safety of such an operation. Once on the Internet, they discovered Born Free and Born Free USA and the wealth of information we provide about the problems associated with exotic wild animals being exploited for close contact photo opportunities — problems for both the animals and for the people participating.

The more they learned about our organization, the more they wanted to help. Anthony contacted us and we are proud to announce the addition of www.AnthonyVenturi.com and Alameda Mortgage to our growing list of caring and compassionate Corporate Partners. Anthony has been in the mortgage business for more than 20 years supporting such wonderful groups as Special Olympics and local police and firefighters along the way. Now, he’s supporting our efforts by donating $250 to Born Free USA from each escrow closing and he’s spreading the word about our efforts to his clients, associates, friends, and family.

The Venturis could have easily walked away from the photo hut and never thought twice about the situation they witnessed. Instead, they educated themselves and chose to make a difference, moving forward with a partnership that has the potential to save the lives of countless animals who otherwise may have suffered the same fate.

Thank you Venturi family — for doing the right thing.

Blogging off,


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