Stop supporting awful places like Jambbas Ranch

Say what you will about PETA – but say it somewhere else. I think we can all rally around this cause. It’s time America gets rid of traveling zoos, circuses with animals, and any other ‘amusement’ where animals are psychologically tortured because of cramped cages. Large animals simply require bigger areas.

Your city almost certainly has an ‘attraction’ featuring caged animals. This one is in my area, and I’m absolutely shocked. This needs to stop.

Shut these awful places down!

After last week’s successful protest against the ‘punch your gay kids’ pastor, Sean Harris, many of us went out for pizza. At one point Pamela started talking about her activism in getting Jambbas Ranch shut down. I’ve long been against this, but was unaware it was happening here in Fayetteville. So I pressed her for more information. It was eye-opening stuff, but as soon as she mentioned PETA as helping, some people sort of ‘shut down’. This is similar to what happens when we say ‘atheist’, isn’t it? I’m not a fan of PETA either, but it’s clear that they are on the right side of this issue.

It’s not like this is even a ‘PETA issue’, 1600 people have added their voices to the Facebook page maintained by the local activists. They got Bob Barker to speak to the city officials, got National Geographic involved, tracked the countless legal citations against Jambbas Ranch Tours. The Shutdown Jambbas group has funding for their pending litigation, and are building a local community of watchdogs.

Jammbas have many more animals that are injured, physically and psychologically.

Rusty barbed wire.

Foxes need more than a few feet of concrete and bizarre random objects.

This Bison has several open wounds.

They’re doing a great job, but they need help. They need visibility. Don’t get distracted, don’t look away because it’s unpleasant, do whatever you can to help out. Share their videos on your Facebook page. ‘Like’ their page. Look for similar places in your area – get involved in efforts to stop them. If there is no local effort, begin one.

I started caring about these issues when I read this amazing article in a defunct zine a decade ago. If you’re still unsure, take a look at “Cruelty Under the Big Top” That article will screw you right up.


The circus is no fun for animals. They don’t choose to ride bicycles, jump through fiery hoops, stand on their heads, or prance around on their hind legs in silly costumes. Circus trainers use whips, muzzles, electric prods, and other torturous devices to force them to perform these frightening, dangerous, and demeaning “tricks” that they cannot comprehend.

When animals aren’t performing, they are kept in cages or chains. They are deprived of their basic needs to exercise, roam, socialize, forage, and play. Big cats, bears, and primates are forced to eat, drink, sleep, defecate, and urinate in the same cramped cages. Elephants are chained by the legs for hours at a time. They often suffer crippling injuries from the constant chaining and physically difficult tricks. Veterinarian Sara Winikoff, who has experience with both captive and wild elephants, reports that “chaining their feet, restricting their access to natural exercise patterns and behaviors impedes their health dramatically.”

In large circuses, animals are often forced to perform night after night for 48 to 50 weeks every year. Due to the substandard, stressful conditions, many animals exhibit stereotypic behaviors such as swaying back and forth, head-bobbing, pacing, bar-biting, and self-mutilation.

Smaller and poorer circuses often do not even provide animals with adequate water, food, and veterinary care. Regardless of the size of the circus, the animals inevitably suffer under the big top. Take a look behind the scenes at some of the circuses that use and abuse animals for human amusement.

Look at Jambbas website’s picture for their bear. They’re not even trying to hide the problem, because they’re not aware of one. It’s insane. They’re asking for donations for a bigger cage – but a big enough cage can’t be built there. Sanctuaries exist, but Jambbas is not one and never will be one.

Don’t take your kids to a place like this!

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  • unbound

    “It was eye-opening stuff, but as soon as she mentioned PETA as helping, some people sort of ‘shut down’. This is similar to what happens when we say ‘atheist’, isn’t it?”

    Also something that happens when I hear ‘scientologist’. However, there is a lot more in common between PETA and scientology than there is between PETA and atheism.

    However, I do agree that this is a worthy fight regardless of PETA’s involvement.

  • jamessweet

    It was eye-opening stuff, but as soon as she mentioned PETA as helping, some people sort of ‘shut down’. This is similar to what happens when we say ‘atheist’, isn’t it?

    Yep, it’s exactly like that, and becoming more vocal about atheism is precisely what made me soften on PETA. To be clear, I think a lot of their positions are way overboard, I disagree with many premises and many of their methods… but they are paddling in the right direction here, and in many ways that’s good enough. I mean, really, are we in danger of animals being treated too well right now? Are we really concerned that people are going to listen too much to PETA and adopt some of their overboard positions? Please.

    If nothing else, PETA creates space in the mainstream for less extreme organizations (the same way that us outspoken atheists make room in the mainstream for more temperate criticism of religion). And as far as a backlash… really, is there anyone who has ever said, “Well, I was going to give up factory-farmed meat, but then PETA said that I had to be a vegetarian if it was going to count, so I just said ‘fuck it'”? Probably as many people who have said, “Well, I was going to start believing in evolution and treating women and gays like real people, but then that mean old Dawkins said religion and science are incompatible, so I joined up with Westboro Baptist Church instead”…

  • Wren, a Tru Hoppist

    Although it looks like the Jambbas ranch doesn’t have cats, I would suggest getting in touch with organizations like the Exotic Feline Rescue Center ( The EFRC rescues wild cats from terrible conditions and gives them a place to live out the rest of their lives.

    I did volunteer work there in college, helping them to build permanent enclosures for new arrivals and they devote a lot of space to the cats. I don’t know of organizations that rescue other animals, but something like the EFRC is probably what you want.

  • badweasel

    Oh Hell, they declawed the bear too. The savages. Its jokers like these that give real, proper, conservation orientated zoos a bad name.

  • Justin, I’m a huge supporter of your work here at Ft. Bragg, but I would personally have been one of the people who “shut down” at the mention of PETA—and it is completely different from someone shutting down at the word “atheist.” The very nature of atheism is questioning—and I don’t think telling people to disagree with PETA elsewhere is conducive to that, just because the organization has formed something of an alliance with atheists. I am a strong believer in intersectional activism. The type that does not oppress another marginalized group of people (or animals) while defending another. PETA does this. Most notably, it exploits women’s bodies to meet its own ends. It also conducts blatantly racist events ( I shut down at the mention of PETA because this directly impacts my life, and I won’t support an organization that perpetuates sexism and racism. I am a long time vegetarian and animal rights activist, but PETA will never have my support, just like I would never support, for instance, a homophobic local church just because they got behind this issue at Jambbas Ranch (not that they would).

    People shut down at “atheism” because they are uneducated about it. People shut down at PETA because they ARE educated about it.

    That said, I completely agree with you and others on the issue of the ranch. I used to be quite involved in handing out leaflets and protesting the circus when it came to Pittsburgh, and I’m horrified to know there is something worse right in our backyard here. Thank you for bringing light to the situation.

  • wanderfound

    Yes, this style of cheaparse zoo is an unethical relic that should be shut down. However:

    I’m a research scientist who works with rats (behavioural neuroscience). Many, many people in mine and related fields have faced harassment up to and including serious violence due to fanatical animal lib arseholes.

    PETA are _not_ my allies. This is not a minor issue to me.

  • I’m with Holly on the PETA issue.

    I’m all for treating animals as fellow travelers.

    I just can’t get behind the strategies PETA uses. Plus, they have a horrific record of their own wrt euthanasia.

  • James

    PETA is a bunch of fucking tards for all the reasons above, but I like animals more than I like other people’s children. I shared and will start pestering my friends and family members to sign the petition. I’ve only been to one place like this in my life in southern Spain (Andalucia). Among other things they had a tiger (A fucking tiger! King of the Jungle and all that!) in a cage not much bigger than my cubicle. My spanish was so poor at that time that I couldn’t correctly express my outrage. My wife got me out of there before things got out of hand. (Poor woman; she’s been doing that ever since. We were newly wed then, if she only known …)