Georgia State Fair Tiger Exhibitor Doesn’t Meet Permit Requirements

PETA Calls for Georgia Authorities to Revoke Permit for Outfit Employing Abusive, Unlicensed Exhibitor Marcus Cook

For Immediate Release:
September 22, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Hampton, Ga. – PETA has sent an urgent letter calling on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR) to revoke the permit it issued to All Things Wild—which employs disgraced big-cat exhibitor Marcus Cook—to exhibit tigers at the Georgia State Fair starting this weekend. In its letter, PETA points out that a valid Animal Welfare Act (AWA) exhibitor’s license is a prerequisite for a wild animal license from the GDNR—and Cook’s exhibitor’s license was revoked permanently after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) charged him with nearly 100 violations of the AWA, meaning that it’s illegal for Cook to display big cats at the Georgia State Fair or anywhere else.

“Not only is it cruel for Marcus Cook to subject terrified big cats to large crowds and the constant deprivation of captivity, it’s also illegal,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on Georgia authorities to ensure that Cook doesn’t endanger animals or fairgoers at the Georgia State Fair or anywhere else in the ‘Peach State.'”

In its letter to the GDNR, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that All Things Wild is likely also to violate Georgia law’s safety requirements, as the USDA just cited the company in June for failing to have sufficient barriers between tigers and the public and for failing to have adequately trained personnel to ensure the animals’ welfare and the public’s safety. All Things Wild is currently under investigation by the USDA for AWA violations. In the past, Cook has been charged with unsafe handling after a tiger cub bit a woman at an exhibit, and he has allowed tiger cubs to scratch children. His other AWA violations include using a cattle prod on a tiger, keeping animals in tiny and unventilated enclosures, and denying tigers, cougars, and a bear cub adequate water, and much, much more. In early 2009, the USDA took the rare action of seizing a lion and two tigers from Cook who were starving. Four months later, the agency seized three sick white lions from him, two of whom were underweight and had open sores.

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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