The Internet has spawned a wave of videos called “unlikely friends” showing normally incompatible species interacting. The problem isn’t when a dog and a cat cuddle up on the couch. It’s that the videos in question are distributed by seedy roadside zoos in an effort to make their cruel businesses more palatable to the public.
We’re not embedding these videos because ignoring them is the strongest statement you can make.
Here are three of the worst offenders:
- A gross Android ad features animals from a notorious outfit called T.I.G.E.R.S. The operator, a guy named Bhagavan (Kevin) Antle, has been repeatedly cited by federal authorities for failure to provide animals with adequate veterinary care, sufficient cage space, protection from the elements, and clean water and for failure to provide dogs with an exercise plan and primates with a program of environmental enrichment. Antle routinely crossbreeds animals and removes infant animals from their mothers to be used as photo props.
- Dade City’s Wild Things in Florida promotes its awful business by posting “unlikely friends” videos such as a tiger cub swimming with a dog. The roadside zoo, which is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violating the Animal Welfare Act, churns out cubs and acquires them from other breeders and dealers and then just as quickly relegates them to tiny pens or discards them to other roadside zoos where they’ll spend their lives being denied everything that is natural and important to them. All these vulnerable babies belong with their mothers, not in swimming pools and sitting on people’s laps.
- The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park (G.W.) in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, spins the friendship between a lion and a dachshund as charming, but the living conditions for exotic animals at this hellhole are deplorable. G.W. is currently the subject of four USDA investigations, including one for the deaths of two tiger cubs in May 2013 and another for the deaths of 23 baby tigers over a seven-month period from 2009 to 2010. Last year, the facility was cited for failing to provide four juvenile bears, who had suffered from untreated skin conditions for months, with veterinary care. It was also cited last year by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for a 2013 tiger attack that caused an employee to lose part of her arm and nearly bleed to death.
What You Can Do
Share this blog post on social media and post comments anytime you see an “unlikely friends” video online.