Feds Find Tigers in Maggot-Filled Barn, After Tipped Off by PETA

For Immediate Release:
July 29, 2021

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Choctaw County, Okla. After PETA alerted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to a video of a thin, weak tiger performing at the Kosair Shrine Circus, the agency just slapped Choctaw County–based exhibitor Adam Burck with numerous citations for failing to meet the minimum requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act by, among other violations of law, neglecting to provide an elderly tiger with protruding bones with adequate veterinary care and caging tigers in a hot barn with maggots crawling on the floor.

According to the report, Burck kept pacing tigers who appeared “agitated” in travel crates inside the poorly ventilated and stinking barn—which hit 92 degrees during the inspector’s visit—for over a year when not being used in performances. Per the USDA, such small spaces can have a “dramatic, negative impact” on the animals’ health. The report also notes that the barn lacked a perimeter fence and posed a “constant, ongoing potential threat” to public safety.

“These distressed tigers have no space to move, no escape from the stifling heat, and no relief from the filth and stench of the barn,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “PETA warns the public to avoid circuses with animal acts, which exploit wildlife and endanger the public.”

Last week, PETA requested that Burck let it assist in placing the animals in accredited sanctuaries. The group now asks its supporters to join its effort on International Tiger Day (today) by contacting Burck and urging him to release the tigers to reputable facilities.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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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