Law-Flouting Exhibitor Denied Export Permit After PETA Complaint

T.I.G.E.R.S.' Exploitation of Wild Animals for Film Fails to Qualify for Exemption From Endangered Species Act

For Immediate Release:
December 18, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C. – After receiving information from PETA about The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species—or T.I.G.E.R.S., a for-profit animal exhibition outfit run by Bhagavan Antle out of Myrtle Beach—the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) denied the facility’s application for a permit to export and then re-import 18 endangered tigers to and from Cancún for a movie.

As PETA pointed out in its complaint, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) expressly prohibits the import or export of endangered animals, with very limited exceptions, such as if it will enhance the species in the wild. Antle has a long history of flagrant animal welfare violations, and he failed to demonstrate that the proposed “action and travel adventure” movie qualifies for an exception to the ESA’s prohibitions.

“The authorities made the right call in blocking T.I.G.E.R.S.’ bid to drag tigers back and forth across the border for a movie,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA’s motto reads, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment,’ and this deplorable facility’s careless exploitation of endangered animals shows why.”

Antle has had brushes with the law for decades. He was recently cited for confining dozens of adult tigers to unsecure enclosures—one 700-pound tiger escaped into a group of visitors, including young children—as well as for displaying big cats, restrained only with a short leash held by an exhibitor, with nothing but a 3- to 4-foot wooden fence between the animals and the audience.

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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