Legal Victory! Court Slams Jeff Lowe’s ‘Appalling Cruelty’ to Lions in PETA Case

For Immediate Release:
February 25, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Oklahoma City – Today, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma granted PETA a victory in its Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against notorious animal exhibitor and Tiger King villain Jeff Lowe, finding that Lowe “treated the four lions directly involved in this case … with appalling cruelty.” This is the first court decision establishing that Lowe’s treatment of animals is so deficient it violates the ESA.

“This animal exploiter let these motherless cubs suffer without bare necessities like proper food and veterinary care—and one even died,” says PETA Foundation Director of Litigation Asher Smith. “PETA is celebrating the end of his reign of terror and today’s ruling, which puts other Tiger King–style villains on notice that their days of abusing vulnerable animals are numbered.”

Lowe was added as a defendant in PETA’s lawsuit against his former business partner, fellow Tiger King subject Tim Stark, after Stark violated multiple court orders in the case by transporting the four cubs to Lowe’s Wynnewood property. One of them, Kahari, died only days before her scheduled rescue. The court found Lowe liable for a number of violations today, including:

  • Feeding the cubs a commercial milk replacer that lacked the necessary nutrients found in mothers’ milk, and when they were older, providing rancid, nutrient-deficient meat as their only food source
  • Lack of adequate enclosures, which contributed to gruesome injuries, including a bite wound that required part of the paw of one lion, Amelia, to be amputated
  • Failing to hire a veterinarian with sufficient training or experience in lion care or treat numerous injuries uncovered by PETA experts
  • Failing to take adequate COVID-19 precautions, including failure to restrict access to animals, a first-of-its kind ruling under the ESA

The court also agreed that Lowe—who lied about the circumstances of Kahari’s death and left her body outside to decompose beyond the point at which a necropsy could determine its cause—was in fact responsible for the lion’s death.

PETA’s win against Stark allowed the group to rescue the three surviving cubs, along with 22 other big cats—including Nala, who likely would have died if PETA hadn’t intervened.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.


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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