UPDATE: After receiving a complaint from PETA about the incident below, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the exhibitor who provided the tiger to UniverSoul for handling the tiger in a manner that caused her stress and unnecessary discomfort. The exhibitor was also cited for failing to maintain the tiger’s enclosure in a manner that would protect her from injury.
This is not the first time that this exhibitor has violated federal law. In 2008, he was ordered to pay a $6,000 penalty after two tigers escaped while touring with UniverSoul. In the past year, he has been cited for failing to provide big cats with a proper diet and feeding big cats unsafely handled meat.
Video footage of a tiger traveling with the UniverSoul Circus showing his foot trapped beneath the sliding door to his cage has prompted PETA to fire off a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Indianapolis Animal Care & Control asking for an immediate investigation into the animal’s condition. The video shows the tiger struggling to free his foot, panting, and in obvious distress.
UniverSoul rents its animal acts from exhibitors who have dismal records of animal care. The USDA has repeatedly cited UniverSoul’s animal exhibitors for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including failure to provide veterinary care, medical records, and adequate space. Undercover video footage shows one exhibitor UniverSoul has used—Tim Frisco of the Carson & Barnes Circus—viciously attacking elephants with a bullhook as they scream in pain. The circus has also had at least three tiger escapes.
Please tell the USDA that you expect it to take immediate action to assess this tiger’s condition.
Written by Jennifer O’Connor