Feds Revoke Animal Exhibitor’s License, Levy $340,000 Penalty

‘Wildlife in Need’ Will Soon Be Prohibited from Exploiting USDA-Regulated Species in Public Encounters

For Immediate Release:
February 6, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Charlestown, Ind. – PETA is praising the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for issuing an order to permanently revoke the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license of notorious animal exhibitor Tim Stark this week and ordering him and his facility, Wildlife in Need (WIN), to pay a total of $340,000 in civil penalties, $40,000 of which was assessed against Stark individually.

The revocation stems from an administrative lawsuit filed by the USDA against WIN and Stark alleging more than 120 violations of the AWA between 2012 and 2016, including for instructing patrons to hit big-cat cubs during so-called “Tiger Baby Playtime” events, for swinging and tossing monkeys by their tails and hips during public encounters, and for bludgeoning a leopard to death with a baseball bat. The court also found that Stark went months without having an attending veterinarian and provided a USDA inspector with an official document bearing the forged signature of a veterinarian who hadn’t been WIN’s attending veterinarian for several years.

“The USDA has effectively cut Stark off at the knees, preventing him from continuing to torment and exploit vulnerable lemurs, sloths, dogs, and other animals for a quick buck,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA looks forward to seeing this terrible place shut down and the animals moved to reputable facilities where they’ll never again be used as photo props.”

Once the ruling takes effect, Stark will no longer be able to legally exhibit. A second PETA lawsuit against WIN’s attending veterinarian resulted in a first-of-its-kind agreed-upon ruling holding that declawing ESA-protected big cats without medical necessity violates the ESA.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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“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