PETA Statement re ‘Doc’ Antle Verdict

For Immediate Release:
June 16, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Winchester, Va.Tiger King villain and Myrtle Beach Safari operator Bhagavan “Doc” Antle was convicted tonight of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking by a jury in the Frederick County Circuit Court in Virginia. Sentencing is scheduled for September 14. Below, please find a statement from PETA Foundation General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet:

For a long time, PETA has urged families to stay away from Bhagavan “Doc” Antle’s exploitative park, blown the whistle on his apparent “charity” scam, and alerted authorities to bears and tigers languishing in the heat at the cruel, now-defunct roadside zoo where he trafficked in endangered lions. Now that a jury of his peers has convicted Antle of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking, PETA will push for a government crackdown on his chronic animal welfare violations and the termination of the federal licenses that keep his tawdry park in business.

More details about Antle’s exploitation of animals are available here. Please let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything else I can provide.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, 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