Feds Cite Zootastic for Lack of Veterinary Care to Tiger Cubs

PETA Urges Families to Stay Away From Cruel Big-Cat ‘Encounters’

For Immediate Release:
August 9, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Troutman, N.C.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has inspected Zootastic Park—a roadside zoo whose irresponsible handling of tiger cubs PETA has reported before—and cited the facility for eight violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including failure to provide tiger cubs with adequate veterinary care.

According to the July 5 report, which just became publicly available, Zootastic allowed the tip of an adolescent tiger’s tail to remain wounded and bleeding for six days without veterinary care. A very young white tiger suffered from significant swelling around her eyes, and a young liliger was missing hair on approximately 40 percent of his body—and apparently neither animal had seen a veterinarian.

“Zootastic treats tiger cubs like selfie props, dragging them out for photo ops at $300 a pop with no regard for the sensitive animals’ well-being,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “This latest report of veterinary neglect is yet another reason why PETA urges families to stay away from exotic-animal encounters.”

The USDA also cited the zoo for having expired medication and meat, failing to maintain organized acquisition and disposition records for animals, allowing a build-up of animal waste in cages, and failing to provide panting big cats with adequate shade on a 95-degree day, among other violations.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that hands-on tiger cub encounters fuel the captive-tiger overpopulation crisis. Federal law does not allow for tiger cubs older than 12 weeks to be used in public displays, so these facilities regularly breed tigers and then tear the cubs away from their mothers—sometimes within hours of birth—to be handled by streams of people. Once they are too old to be profitable, the tigers are often left to spend their lives confined to small cages in backyards, basements, and roadside zoos. Zootastic has traded cubs back and forth with the notorious Dade City’s Wild Things, which is facing a federal lawsuit over its cruel “swim with tigers” events. PETA has also notified that facility of its intent to sue under the Endangered Species Act.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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