In the hit TV show Lucifer, actor Lesley-Ann Brandt plays a formidable bounty-hunting demon. In real life, she’s equally fearless about standing up for mothers and youngsters of all species.
In a new video for PETA filmed at the beautiful Lions, Tigers, and Bears sanctuary in Alpine, CA, Brandt urges everyone to avoid roadside zoos and photo ops with big-cat or bear cubs. “[M]y worst nightmare is that I will outlive my son or that my baby would be taken from me,” she tells viewers.
Mothers at roadside zoos have to live this nightmare every day, as the cub-petting industry profits off separating newborn cubs from their mothers to be used as props in photo ops.
Cubs used in photos and petting sessions are deprived of the nurturing care that they need from their mothers and often suffer from poor nutrition, illness, physical abuse, and neglect, and some even die before they reach adulthood. Because growing cubs quickly become too big and dangerous to interact with the public, they’re typically replaced by younger cubs after just a couple of months. Animals who’ve grown too large to be used in hands-on encounters are traded to other tourist traps, used to breed more cubs, or sometimes even killed.
“Just like human mothers, bear, tiger, and lion moms are devastated when their babies are taken from them,” says Brandt. “Just like us, they love their babies. They want to raise them. And their babies want and need that, too.”
What You Can Do to Help Protect Mothers and Their Families
Never participate in baby-animal photo ops or cub-petting encounters, and be sure to stay away from any venue where bears, tigers, or other animals are forced to spend their lives being used as props. Explain to your friends, family members, and social media followers how roadside zoos are cruel to animals, and encourage them to support reputable sanctuaries instead.
You can stand up for animals exploited at roadside zoos by joining Lesley-Ann Brandt and pledging not to support facilities offering cub-petting encounters or photo ops with vulnerable animals. To help make sure that no more cubs are born into the abusive cycle, you can also urge your U.S. representatives and senators to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act. If passed, the act would safeguard big-cat families by ending the private ownership of and public contact with these animals.