I've volunteered in sanctuaries around the world, from tending lions, baboons and other wildlife in Namibia to fruit bats in Australia, and have never seen anything like Tiger Temple, which was a horror show. During my time there, I saw the Thai staff kicking and hitting tigers with sticks when the frustrated animals refused to cooperate, and boisterous cubs being slapped on the face and dragged away by their tails.
There were other animals roaming the grounds - deer, cows, camels, goats, pigs and peacocks - and some were sick, skinny or lame. Only the water buffalo looked content, probably because the monks hadn't found ways to exploit them. I came across a deer with a torn-off hoof staggering on a raw bloody stump. He gave up and slumped by the temple stairs. I was upset to see the buck in obvious distress and sought out the Canadian volunteer, who had driven us on the moped, to help. "We let animals be," he shrugged. "Buddhists don't interfere with nature."
"No," I snapped, "they just imprison, drug and torture them."