Feds Cite Maitland-Based Tiger Exhibitor Following PETA Complaint

Newly Released Records Show Crackdown on Mitchel Kalmanson for Repeatedly Locking Big Cats in Undersized Cages

For Immediate Release:
August 21, 2013

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Maitland, Fla. — Two days after PETA filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that tigers traveling with UniverSoul Circus were languishing in undersized metal cages during 90-degree–plus weather, including photos of the animals, the agency cited Maitland-based UniverSoul exhibitor Mitchel Kalmanson for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Specifically, he has been cited for failing to provide tigers with adequate space and required exercise—a repeat violation arising from his continued confinement of tigers to tiny transport cages all day long despite previous citations. Kalmanson’s tiger trainer reportedly told the USDA inspector that they keep the tigers caged 24/7 for at least the four to seven weeks that they’re on the road, which denies the animals even the slightest amount of exercise and anything else that’s natural and important to them.

“While UniverSoul’s exhibitors flout the laws written to protect animals, these animals suffer both while they’re stored away like inanimate props and when they’re forced to perform unnatural tricks under the threat of punishment,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “The suffering endured by these cats, who spend most of their lives locked up in tiny metal cages, should prompt Birmingham-area residents to stay away from UniverSoul Circus and all other circuses that use animals.”

In 2011, the USDA cited Kalmanson following a PETA complaint that included video footage of a tiger with UniverSoul Circus as she struggled after her foot became pinned underneath a panel of a cage. Kalmanson was also cited in April while with UniverSoul for failing to care for a limping tiger properly, for putting a tiger at risk of strangulation, and for denying tigers adequate space and exercise. In 2008, he was ordered to pay a $6,000 penalty for two tiger escapes that took place while exhibiting with UniverSoul.

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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