Blue Jays Hit a Foul With Lion and Tiger Cub Photo Op

PETA Calls On Team to Drop Cruel and Dangerous Stunts With Notorious Animal Exhibitor

For Immediate Release:
September 15, 2014

Moira Colley 202-483-7382


This morning, PETA sent a letter calling on the Toronto Blue Jays to make sure that last week’s locker-room stunt—in which the notorious Bowmanville Zoo reportedly supplied lion and tiger cubs for photo ops with players—is the last time that captive wild animals are used by the team.

In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—points out that lion and tiger cubs used for photo ops are torn away from their mothers shortly after birth and dragged from venue to venue, deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. What’s more, the Bowmanville Zoo has a history of neglecting animals and placing the public at risk. Just last year, a baboon exhibited by the facility escaped during a media event and ran amok.

“There’s nothing sporting about subjecting a terrified baby animal to excessive handling in a noisy, unfamiliar locker room,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the Blue Jays to keep everyone safe by sticking to animal-free photo ops and pregame activities.”

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PETA’s letter to Toronto Blue Jays’ management follows.


September 15, 2014


John Gibbons, Manager
Alex Anthopoulos, General Manager
Paul Beeston, President
Toronto Blue Jays


Dear Messrs. Gibbons, Anthopoulos, and Beeston:

On behalf of PETA and its more than 3 million members and supporters, I am writing to urge you to stop using lion and tiger cubs during the Toronto Blue Jays’ pregame activities or for any other purpose. You were likely unaware that exploitative stunts such as this are inherently cruel and dangerous and that the exhibitor that provided the cubs has a disturbing history of animal mistreatment.

Most baby animals used for photo ops, including the lion and tiger cubs your players were snapping pictures with, are torn away from their mothers shortly after birth and spend their lives in tiny cages, deprived of all that is natural and important to them. Once they get bigger and can no longer be used for public interactions, they are usually cast off and sent to seedy roadside zoos or other substandard facilities or negligently kept as dangerous “pets” by private owners who cannot fulfill even their most basic needs. Big cats may even be killed in order to sell their meat, skins, organs, and other body parts.

Bowmanville Zoo, which reportedly provided the lion and tiger cubs for your team’s pregame activities, has a history of disregard for public safety and animal welfare. PETA receives numerous complaints about the Bowmansville Zoo each year. Just last year, for instance, a baboon exhibited by the zoo’s handlers escaped during a media event, wreaking havoc, scaring people, and jeopardizing the public’s safety as handlers struggled to regain control. Prior to that, an incident involving a lion left a dancer with four broken ribs and a bloodied lung after she was knocked over by the big cat.

The exploitation and endangerment of all animals is something that PETA takes very seriously. By supporting exhibitors such as Bowmanville Zoo, you are inadvertently supporting cruelty and neglect, which I feel confident was not your intention. May I please hear that you have made the compassionate decision to stop using wild animals for pregame activities or any other purpose? PETA’s members are anxious for an update. Thank you for your careful consideration.

Very truly yours,

Delcianna Winders, Esq.
Deputy General Counsel
Captive Animal Law Enforcement
PETA Foundation

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