Law-Flouting Exhibitor’s Bid to Export Tigers Draws Fire From PETA

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

For Immediate Release:
December 9, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C. – PETA has submitted formal comments calling on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to deny an application by the so-called 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—to export and re-import 18 endangered tigers to and from Cancún for a movie.

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. In its comments, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—points out that Antle has a long history of flagrant animal welfare violations, including by failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care, and he has failed to demonstrate that the proposed “action and travel adventure” movie will enhance the propagation or survival of endangered tigers.

“Bhagavan Antle has denied veterinary care and safe and secure living quarters to tigers, and now he wants an export permit to squeeze a few more dollars out of them,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the authorities to make sure that T.I.G.E.R.S. doesn’t get away with precisely the kind of abuse and exploitation of endangered animals that the Endangered Species Act was created to prevent.”

Antle’s decades-long history of violating federal animal-protection law also includes recent citations for failing to house dozens of adult tigers in secure enclosures—and one 700-pound tiger’s escape 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