This “Sanctuary” Forces Big Cat and Bear Cubs into Photo Ops

Reputable sanctuaries are homes to rescued animals where they’re given a new chance at life in a safe, appropriate, and natural setting. Sham sanctuaries are cruel roadside zoos, dealers, or breeders that market themselves as a “sanctuary” in order to attract customers. The Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation—also called the Barry Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary and Education Center—is the latter.

This roadside zoo regularly acquires big-cat and bear cubs from notorious breeders and forces them into photo ops, yet it has the audacity to call itself a “sanctuary.” The facility’s operator, Roberta Kirshner, has been seen hitting the baby animals used in these encounters, including a lion cub named Samson, who was hit with a broom while he had broken bones.

Animals at this facility are kept in tiny cages, and many of them are overweight and in poor body condition. Numerous animals—including a cougar, a liger, a lion, tigers, a leopard, a coyote, a black bear, and a lynx—have been seen pacing frequently, a sign of psychological distress.

Roberta Kirshner has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for numerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including a 2015 penalty of over $5,000 for multiple infractions. She has failed to provide animals—including a lion cub named Lucie, who was severely lame, uncomfortable, and unwilling to stand—with adequate veterinary care and allowed members of the public to interact with dangerous wild animals.

Please e-mail the Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation at [email protected] to tell it to end big-cat and bear-cub photo ops and public handling and to retire all the animals there to reputable sanctuaries.

E-mail the Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation

Please feel free to use our sample letter, but remember that using your own words is always more effective.

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Please End Cub Photo Ops and Retire Animals to Reputable Sanctuaries
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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind