Skip to Main Content

Jack Hanna Gets Stuck Behind Bars

Written by PETA | September 18, 2007
Answers/Creative Commons

The words “poetic justice” spring to mind. If you missed the story, America’s most notorious animal trainer, Jack Hanna, got stuck in an airport turnstile yesterday when he was trying to transport a flamingo in a crate like she was carry-on luggage. Hanna also had a leopard and a mongoose in tow, so the terrified animals had to sit there for God knows how long while firefighters worked to free the flamingo’s crate from the turnstile. Or as he put it:

“I was stuck like a worm. My eyes were as big as grapefruits. I can’t describe the feeling in my stomach. I can’t move up or down. The bars are on your face.”

Boy, it must be really unpleasant to be stuck like that, Jack. I know it’s hard, but see if you can grind those mental gears just a little bit more and think about whether there might be something wrong with the fact that your entire career is based on putting animals through exactly the same kind of nightmare.

I know—those khaki pants and that corny sense of humor make Jack Hanna oh-so-likeable, but the bottom line is that he has a simply lousy track record when it comes to animals. It’s abundantly clear from incidents like this one that the animals themselves aren’t Hanna’s first priority, since he clearly feels comfortable lugging them around in crates to be brought out and paraded around for people’s amusement, and it shouldn’t take a wildlife expert to figure out that this experience can be immensely stressful for the animals involved. You can click here for some more info about the tawdry exotic-pet trade, which Hanna helps to glamorize by pimping leopards and big snakes on TV.

For future reference, Jack, exotic animals don’t belong in crates any more than they belong in a TV studio, no matter how much they pay you. Here’s hoping that next time you end up behind bars, it’s for good.

Commenting is closed.
  • Ashley_G says:

    Jack is a poster child for every corporation that abuses animals like Seaworld and Ringling. An documentary series like “Big Cat Diary” on Animal Planet can teach the public about respecting animals for the role they play in the natural habitats much more than a caged animal in a zoo. Denying animals a chance to live in a protected reserve so that we can “learn” about them, is a selfish way to love animals. Shame on Hanna, Corwin, Irwin and Salmoni.

  • Amy C. says:

    Peta Get a grip. It is extremely irresponsible of you to suggest that Jack Hannah does anything but takes care of animals in a proper loving and humane way. It annoys me that you feel you are the expert authority on this and all other matters concerning animals. Why don’t you concentrate your efforts where they are most needed… On serious animal abuse and neglect cases rather than making false accusations at those whom are lovingly taking care of these beautiful animals in a respectful manner and a safe environment. Do your homework people.

  • bernie freeman says:

    Jack Hannah has taught me a real respect and appreciation for animals. Because of his frequent appearances and animal conservation messages I’ve been inspired to donate to many “save the X” causes. Jack Hannah should be applauded and admired for his positive and outstanding contribution to our World.

  • Stephen Paul Summerlin says:

    Lets get rid of zoos they serve no purpose except to let kids view animals in cages

  • Regina says:

    I completely agaree with Dr. Agnzz. We should concentrate on the people who are intentionally abusing and hurting animals.Michele I am in no way comparing Dr. Jane Goodall to anyone. I know she respects animals to the highest degree I had the fortunate chance to meet her and I highly respect her as well.

  • Maya says:

    Hi Regina I was unfortunate enough to see what Jack Hannah said about Steve Irwin it was on the Larry King show I beleive. Just a day or so after Irwin died Hannah was on Larry King’s show slamming Irwin for the incident involving holding his son near a crocodile. Now we can sit here all day and discuss that incident but Irwin had just been killed and Hannah was SO obviously trying to step into the limelight. I say that because right after Hannah said how irresponsible Irwin was he began bragging about how “Oh I came face to face with this cheetah once and I tell you I had to be so brave it could have killed me blah blah blah”. It was incredibly shameless. The discussion was SUPPOSED to be about Steve Irwin and Hannah used the hour to talk about himself. Made me sick. And as a vet nurse and grad student of conservation biology I can tell you Hannah does not have the humillty nor the respect to run a zoo properly.

  • Johnine says:

    Does anyone ever notice how clumsy out of it Jack is on the Letterman show or Leno? Maybe we ought to scrutinize him as we do with Britney Spears treatment of her children!!!!! Johnine

  • Lindsay says:

    Well after reading this I have to say becoming a vegetarian hopefully someday vegangimme a break I have been a meat eater for 30 years!I have a hard time with the selfrightousness of many of the comments I believe in positive work breeds positive things why not spend time doing good work to preserve animal rights not wasting time being so negative. This is often why we can’t get animal rights messages out there there are too many radical words cutting down that people just quit listening

  • 18 Paws says:

    WOW I happened to stumble on this article and the resulting commentaries and I am SO HAPPY! For years I have hated this guy not just for his professed and blatant ignorance of the species that he drags around but for the fact that he parades plies and prods these frightened animals for his own selfaggrandized fame and fortune. I truly thought that I was the only person who found his TV appearances tasteless and cruel. WhenOhWhen can we expect that live animals will no longer appear on TV or stage for evil twitchinducing audience amusement? Do you hear me Rockets with your Christmas play who prance supposed mangertending animals through nightly abuse? Thanks PETA for allowing this issue into the light. We need to boycott such events protest when they still occur and keep up the dialogue both written and verbally until it is politically incorrect and unacceptable to drag wild animals through choking airports hot trucks and yes contracting turnstiles in an effort to dazzle an audience.

  • ang says:

    Why do we need to have animals in zoo’s anyway these animals need to be free.

  • Michele says:

    Regina please do not insult Dr. Jane Goodall by comparing her to Jack Hanna. Jane Goodall has RESPECT for the animals she has studied she does not exploit them by keeping them in cages for entertainment zoos do NOT qualify as anything but or dragging them through an airport or showing them off on late night television. Margarita do you not see the absurdity of attempting to teach children about animal habitats by keeping the animals in captivity away from their actual habitats???? Don’t be ridiculous you can teach children about animals in a way that does not involve cruelty to those animals. Hanna got a taste of his own medicine boo hoo. Unfortunately since he has spent his entire career being disrespectful to animals I doubt that he will suddenly see the light. It would mean a loss of some big time $$$ for him somehow I think that that’s what is most important to him.

  • Karen says:

    If anyone has ever watched Jack Hanna on TV then you have noticed he is scared of most the animals he has on. It’s his handlers behind the scenes that take care of the animals. He just gets all the glory for it.

  • Regina says:

    I have been a fan of Jack Hanna for years. It’s kind of hard to believe all this stuff coming out about him. Where is the info coming from on that Fact Sheet. If he was that heartless about the life of an animal how is he the director of the Colombus Zoo? I don’t believe an animal should be kept in a cage for the rest of it’s life either but if not for people like Hanna Corwin GoodallIrwin and others like them people wouldn’t be aware of the plight of the environment and the animals in it. Yes I agree what he did in the airport was pretty stupid on his behalf but I don’t think he as bad a person as everyone thinks he is. Just wondering what he said about Irwin just after his passing? and PETA too? I would think that all the people in the field of conservation would be trying to help each other not digging on one another. Maybe I’m just out of the loop but I just don’t get what he did that was so wrong. Please fill me in if there is real factual info out there.

  • Dr Agnzz says:

    I agree with Hate Ignorance Margarita and Anonomous Red. I did not see the unfortunate event involving Jack Hanna and his flamingo. Admittedly I have never been crazy about Jack as he always seemed to be fearful of the animals he worked with unlike Steve Irwin who would get truly excited over some ultra deadly critter. However the villification of both men for the work they have done and continue to do for animals the environment and conservation efforts in general is in my opinion going to an extreme. Watching both men over the years has always inspired me and those around me to love and protect animals and the environment. Unfortunately as our society becomes more jaded and cynical the one sure way to touch the hearts and minds of the masses is through entertainment. I do not believe for one minute that either of these men or those who follow in their footsteps ever mean to intentionally cause undue harm to the animals they have spent their lives trying to protect. We need to concentrate our energies toward doing away with those entities who intentionally seek to inflict harm on animals the dog fighters the puppy mills the food animal industry the aerial wolf gunners etc…We need to forgive Jack Hanna Steve Irwin and all the other “wildlife warriors” their minor trespasses and applaude their efforts in trying to save our world one television show at a time.

  • Adopt A Mutt! says:

    Why do kids need to see animals in captivity to appreciate them??? They study religion planets continents and history without having to see anything plucked out of their natural habitat and forced to spend their lives behind bars unless they’re “lucky” enought to be surpluss and sold to a canned hunt. It’s ignorant and selfish to use animals for entertainment. HE’S AN ASS!!

  • Peggy Ellison says:

    I think the guy needs to be educated on the humane care of animals. I do believe that he thinks he is doing good for the animals by educating the public therefore he needs to be informed that the way he exploits these animals is not the way to go.

  • Courtney says:

    I think he loves animals and he is devoted to educating the world. what he is doing is getting people interested in animals so they donate money to help with conservation efforts. he should definately be treating them alot better however we owe alot to him for conservation awareness

  • Nicolette says:

    Wow I use to feel sorry for him when he appeared on the Ellen show because she seemed mean to him now I say HA HA he deserved it.

  • Anonomous Red says:

    You people are a little hard on hannah. Did you stop to think how many children hannah has inspired to take an active part in helping to preserve our natural world. Me for one. Judge away judgers but the majority of the world cares little that nature is dying or dead but you demonize somebody who loves animals. Maybe they shouldn’t be in cages but millions upon millions of people have seen jack hannah and his passion for the animals he shows. Don’t you think it influenced a few of them?

  • Margarita says:

    I thought that teaching children and people about animals and their habitats where they belong was a good thing.

  • Patrick Thrasher says:

    I think this is an example of irony don’t you?

  • hate ignorance says:

    This story was told to me in person by my friend Mr. Hanna yesterday Friday 921. If your information is based from any source other than from the man you call ‘asshole’ possibly spending more time expending positive energy towards animal humanity might be more resourceful.

  • Maureen says:

    I dont live in the states but I have seen this guy once or twice on cable. I wasnt surprised to read here what a fake he is. If you love animals you do not exploit them for personal gain. Besides that cheesy grin of his says a lot!

  • Susannah S says:

    It’s ironic and awful that Hanna can’t see that what he just experienced is how his captive animals live all the time. I’ve never understood why the late night shows put people like this on the air. I guess it’s considered “entertaining”. Well why not they might say. Why not indeed. There are reality shows about kids running around in a ghost town without supervisiona situation that would normally result in Child Protective Services being called shows about people harrassing alligators on Animal Planet dog shows and horse shows and rodeos etc. etc. We really aren’t that far away from having gladiators on TV killing each other. So maybe there could be a show about Jack Hanna struggling to get out of a cage while a bunch of flamingos and their friends stand around and throw peanuts at him. Now there’s a show I’d watch!

  • tiago says:

    Is Peta going to sent him a nice letter as usual? Because I belive he needs a CLEAR warning about his work and its consequences. He has no sense of caring.

  • silvia says:

    what an asshole!!!!

  • Kelpie says:

    I’m in Ohio. I’m sad to say that my state’s capital has a zoo that the terrible man loves.



  • Judith, Freedom Fighter says:

    I believe the time has finally come to put Hanna in his own crate and send him into a lions den. That’s POETIC JUSTICE….. We did everything we could to get rid of him at the San Diego Zoo. It is he who we somewhat blame for monsters coming across the border into San Diego that were caught hiding snakes and small animals in the hubcaps of their cars and trucks including birds puppies and cats you name it they hide them and still getting away with this horrific crime. He always spoke about how valuable these animals are. He and others like himself are very much to blame. This guy deserves the very worst.

  • Ana says:

    Wild animal pimp. Deplorable! Sends the wrong message about these beautiful creatures to the public most especially to children. Hello Maya I agree! Hope all is purrfect with the kitties.

  • Maya says:

    This guy has no shame. He flaunts his ignorance of wildlife and natural history as though it’s entertaining. How could this guy have been the director of the SD zoo?? Ironically what made me really angry was the snide comments he made about Steve Irwin before his body was cold in the ground similar to what PETA did after Irwin died. But at least PETA was objecting to Irwin’s animal handling as opposed to Hannah who was trying to outdo him. Good job Jack! You outdid a dead guy. Letterman should be contacted this guy’s not funny.

  • Jaclyn says:

    What a jerk.