Complaint Filed Over Bieber Family Party’s Possibly Illegal Tiger Display

Toronto Law Prohibits the Possession of Exotic Animals; PETA Calls for Investigation, Action Against Zoo Owned by Tiger Whipper

For Immediate Release:
May 5, 2016

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Toronto – PETA submitted an official complaint this morning calling on the Toronto Animal Services’ Enforcement/Mobile Response unit to investigate what appears to be the unlawful exhibition of a tiger, lion or tiger cub, lemur, and camel at a party thrown for Justin Bieber’s father in Toronto on Saturday. In its complaint, PETA points out that Toronto Municipal Code § 349‑2 prohibits the possession of these and other exotic animals, with violations punishable by a fine of up to $5,000.

“With a powerful adult tiger restrained only by a leash and a lion or tiger cub torn away from his or her mother’s side, this dangerous and inhumane party seems to have also been against the law,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling for an investigation into who was paid to parade wild animals at this event, and we urge kind people everywhere not to participate in disgusting exotic-animal photo ops like this one.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that the adult tiger appears to have been supplied by the Bowmanville Zoo, whose owner and former director, Michael Hackenberger, was recently charged with five counts of cruelty to animals after a PETA video showed him viciously whipping a young tiger during a “training” session, even after the cat was lying on his back in a position of submission. The young tiger was so traumatized that he involuntarily emptied his anal sacs, a fear response in big cats.

PETA’s letter to Toronto Animal Services’ Kim Smithers and Fiona Venedam is available upon request. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind