Facility Allows Members of the Public to Come Into Direct Contact With Infant Animals, in Violation of Federal Law, Says Group
For Immediate Release:
January 6, 2013
David Perle 202-483-7382
Calhan, Colo. – This morning, PETA filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging the agency to investigate Serenity Springs Wildlife Center for likely violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Photos obtained by PETA show children handling a young tiger cub who is reportedly only 10 days old. Serenity Springs also invites the public to visit its Calhan facility to take photos and interact with lion cubs who appear to be younger than 8 weeks old. As PETA points out in its letter, the AWA prohibits excessive, stressful public handling of young animals, and USDA policy discourages all public contact with cubs who are 8 weeks old or younger, as such contact puts the animals, whose immune systems have not yet sufficiently developed, at risk of harm, in violation of the AWA.
“Baby tigers and lions should be with their mothers, not dragged out to be handled by excitable children,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the USDA to hold Serenity Springs accountable for any and all violations of federal law it has committed—and on Colorado families to refuse to support this facility’s attempts to profit from the exploitation of lion and tiger cubs.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently blocked Serenity Springs’ bid for a permit to breed more tiger cubs after PETA informed the agency of the exhibitor’s record of previous AWA violations. Approximately one-third of the animals at Serenity Springs have died over the last five years, according to its own records, and the facility faces dozens of charges—and possible revocation or suspension of its license—for AWA violations, including for repeatedly failing to provide animals with veterinary care.
PETA’s complaint to the USDA is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA’s blog.