Full-Page Newspaper Ad Seeks Myrtle Beach Safari and Waccatee Zoo Whistleblowers

Tiger King Exposed Trafficking in Endangered Animals, Veterinary Care Failures, and Other Crimes: Now PETA Seeks Insiders to Report Physical Abuse, More

For Immediate Release:
June 12, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C. – After Tiger King gave the public a glimpse into the neglect and abuse prevalent at roadside zoos across the U.S., PETA has placed a full-page ad in Sunday’s edition of the Myrtle Beach Sun News to encourage Myrtle Beach Safari and Waccatee Zoo employees and volunteers to share their firsthand accounts at PETA.org/Abuse.

Myrtle Beach Safari operator Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been repeatedly cited under federal animal welfare laws, prematurely separated cubs from their mothers for use in public encounters, and engaged in animal-abusing publicity stunts. Fellow Tiger King subject Joe “Exotic” Maldonado-Passage and others have said that Antle puts tiger cubs who’ve grown too old for playtime events into a gas chamber to kill them and then burns their bodies in an on-site crematorium. At the nearby Waccatee Zoo, Lila the tiger has gone almost completely bald, and she and other animals have been documented exhibiting signs of severe distress.

“PETA wants to know what secrets ‘Doc’ Antle and the Waccatee Zoo are hiding,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “We need kind people on the inside to come forward if they have witnessed the type of abuse, neglect, and trafficking in endangered species that the whole world saw in Tiger King.”

A whistleblower tip from inside The Mobile Zoo in Alabama led to the rescue of a chimpanzee and three bears, the closure of the facility, and a plea of guilty to 14 counts of cruelty to animals by the owner. Through whistleblowers, PETA has learned of egregious cruelty in circuses, at roadside zoos, in laboratories, and elsewhere.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The ad will also appear in the Wynnewood Gazette—the hometown paper of Joe “Exotic’s” former facility, now operated by Jeff Lowe and rebranded as “Tiger King Park”—and in the Sun Sentinel, a hometown paper of the Zoological Wildlife Foundation, which is run by Mario Tabraue, who was also featured in Tiger King.

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