PETA Statement: Mobile Zoo Owner Pleads Guilty to Cruelty to Animals

For Immediate Release:
May 18, 2017

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Mobile, Ala. – Below please find our statement from PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet on Mobile Zoo owner Jonathan Hightower’s guilty plea today:

In a win for the animals he once neglected, disgraced longtime animal abuser John Hightower pleaded guilty today to 14 counts of cruelty to animals. PETA has argued for years that conditions at his now-defunct Mobile Zoo constituted such cruelty, and we oversaw the relocation of Joe—a chimpanzee who once plucked out his hair in solitary confinement—as well as three bears who paced endlessly and begged for peanuts on Hightower’s watch. They are all now healthy and happy at reputable sanctuaries.

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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