Keith Wilson pleaded no contest to 27 counts of cruelty to animals and is not allowed to own exotic animals for five years, the maximum term available. Because of his plea, Wilson will also be ineligible for a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) exhibitor’s license for at least three years, which will prevent him from profiting from the exploitation of any USDA-regulated domestic animals remaining in his possession. This came after the Virginia Attorney General’s Office’s Animal Law Unit executed a search warrant in 2019 at Wilson’s Wild Animal Park, seizing 119 animals—including bears PETA had documented baking in the sun—and indicted its owner, Wilson, on numerous cruelty-to-animals charges.
“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