Chicago-Based Traveling Zoo Operator Aiding and Abetting Illegal Display

PETA Calls for Charges Against Michael Todd for Partnering With Abusive Exhibitor Whose License Has Been Permanently Revoked

For Immediate Release:
September 10, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382


This morning, PETA sent an urgent letter asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pursue criminal charges against Michael Todd, who operates a Chicago-based traveling zoo called All Things Wild, for illegal dealings with disgraced animal exhibitor Marcus Cook. Todd has partnered with Cook in displaying animals all over the country, even though Cook’s exhibitor’s license was permanently revoked after he was charged with nearly 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). USDA officials warned Todd that his activity is illegal as recently as this past June.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—is also asking the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to investigate possible violations of the Endangered Species Act since evidence suggests that Todd purchased at least seven endangered tigers from Cook without a permit. PETA is also asking the FWS to investigate Cook, who transported tigers into various states to use in displays, for possible violations of the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which prohibits interstate transport of big cats by anyone without a USDA license.

“By allowing an illegal and notoriously cruel exhibitor to display animals under his name, Michael Todd has knowingly aided and abetted a chronic violator of federal law,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the authorities to ensure that both men stop defying federal orders to cease and desist.”

Among dozens of other incidents, Cook’s long history of AWA violations includes using a cattle prod to stun a tiger, keeping animals in tiny and unventilated enclosures, and denying tigers, cougars, and a bear cub adequate water. In June, Todd was cited for five AWA violations in relation to an exhibit by Cook—these include failing to have safe barriers between tigers and the public, failing to have properly trained handlers on staff, and failing to provide tigers with properly nutritious food.

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