Feds Bust ‘Walnut Prairie Wildside’ After Push From PETA

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3 min read

Following complaints from PETA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected notorious roadside zoo Walnut Prairie Wildside three times and slapped its owner, Thomas Edmonds, with a 21-day license suspension over a number of federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) citations. Edmonds is a Tiger King wannabe with no idea what he’s doing, and animals at Walnut Prairie are suffering because of his ignorance. PETA will keep pushing to get this seedy backyard menagerie shut down, and you can join our efforts.

tigers Lily and Tony in enclosure at walnut prairie wildside

What Animals Endure at Walnut Prairie Wildside Under Thomas Edmonds

The issues documented in the March 10, April 29, and June 3 USDA inspection reports include Edmonds’ failure to obtain veterinary care for these animals:

  • A seriously thin and dehydrated cougar
  • An opossum whose ears were covered with scabs for almost a year
  • Two sick monkeys who later died of unknown causes without being seen by a veterinarian

What’s more, Edmonds lacked a formal agreement with an attending veterinarian, a written program of veterinary care, and, in one inspector’s words, “any recognized training with tigers.”

According to the inspector, the obesity of two tigers—who panted after taking just a few steps—along with photographs showing a Walnut Prairie Wildside volunteer feeding a tiger a boiled egg out of her mouth and a tiger licking the top of another volunteer’s head highlighted a “lack of experience and knowledge of this dangerous animal by all those involved.”

Walnut Prairie Wildside also received AWA citations for doing the following:

  • Allowing a child to stick her fingers into a cougar’s cage
  • Allowing an unrestrained snow macaque to climb onto people’s laps and sit on children’s shoulders
  • Failing to provide animals with adequate shelter, water, clean enclosures, and enrichment

walnut prairie wildside cougar cub

What You Can Do for Animals at Walnut Prairie Wildside

Edmonds’ treatment of animals as toys for his amusement and profit is a manifestation of speciesism—the belief that humans are inherently superior to other animals. Urge him to do the right thing by retiring the animals at Walnut Prairie Wildside to reputable facilities, before someone gets mauled or another animal dies.

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