Georgia State Fair Faces PETA’s Ire Over Unlawful Tiger Exhibit

All Things Wild’s Unlawful Display Must Go; Authorities Alerted to Suspected Federal Violation

For Immediate Release:
October 6, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Hampton, Ga.

PETA sent a letter today blasting the Georgia State Fair for permitting notorious exhibitor Michael Todd to operate a cruel tiger show called “All Things Wild,” despite knowing that his federal Animal Welfare Act license was terminated last month—meaning that he cannot lawfully exhibit tigers.

“Michael Todd shows no respect for the law or for animals,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “The tigers he uses are denied everything that’s natural and important to them as they’re carted around the country in small, barren cages and displayed to often rowdy crowds. PETA is calling on the Georgia State Fair to show that it’s law-abiding and against the mistreatment of animals and to turn away this miserable exhibit and all other wild-animal displays.”

On October 2, PETA submitted a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, calling on it to investigate Todd for unlawfully exhibiting tigers at the Alabama State Fair—and the group has alerted the agency to his brazen progression to Georgia.

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PETA’s letter to Universal Fairs founder and President Mark Lovell follows.

October 6, 2020

Mark Lovell

Founder and President

Universal Fairs

Dear Mr. Lovell,

I’m writing again on behalf of PETA, this time after learning that the notoriously cruel tiger show All Things Wild is at the Georgia State Fair, even though your company knows that this exhibitor’s federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license was terminated on September 18, meaning that it cannot lawfully exhibit animals.

In a consent and decision order, the U.S. Department of Agriculture also assessed All Things Wild’s operator, Michael Todd, a $100,000 civil penalty, payment of which was deferred for a four-year probationary period contingent on full compliance with the AWA—which Todd has apparently already violated. On the same day that the decision was entered, All Things Wild was on display at another Universal-run fair—the Alabama State Fair—which ran through September 27.

Federal authorities terminated Todd’s license because it employed disgraced animal exploiter Marcus Cook, who was cited for nearly 100 animal welfare violations—including for using a cattle prod on a tiger and keeping cubs in a trailer with urine saturating the subflooring—before his exhibitor’s license was permanently revoked. Likewise, Todd has a history of racking up citations for violating the AWA, including for inadequately training employees and failing to have safe barriers between tigers and the public.

Wild animals used for fairs like yours are often torn away from their mothers as babies, locked inside cages or shackled with chains, and shipped from city to city. It’s standard practice to use physical violence and psychological domination to force them to perform. As a result of this mistreatment, big cats and other wild animals may lash out—biting, mauling, or otherwise attacking members of the public. A tiger attacked one of Cook’s employees and severed his ear, a cub bit a woman at one of his exhibits, and tiger cubs under his “care” injured children.

We urge you to cut ties with All Things Wild immediately and ban wild-animal exhibits across all the fairs you operate.

Very truly yours,

Melanie Johnson

Assistant Manager

Animals in Entertainment

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