PETA Statement: Natural Bridge Zoo Settlement

For Immediate Release:
January 16, 2021

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Washington – Please see the following statement from PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler in response to just-released documentation revealing that Natural Bridge Zoo owner Karl Mogensen agreed to pay $41,500 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2019 to settle six violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act:

Given how many times PETA has tipped off the feds to animal suffering at Natural Bridge Zoo, it’s a shame that the USDA chose a quiet settlement for an operation that denied a sick tiger cub potentially lifesaving care, bludgeoned guinea pigs to death, and endangered the public with cruel elephant rides and tiger photo ops. This hellhole has racked up nearly 150 animal welfare violations, faces more than $61,000 in fines, and had its exhibitor’s license suspended twice, so PETA is calling on the USDA to stop slapping this ramshackle roadside zoo on the wrist and shut it down so that the long-suffering animals there can be retired to reputable sanctuaries.

PETA (whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview) notes that Natural Bridge Zoo has a history of exploiting baby tigers––even sending 1-week-old cubs to Doc Antle of Tiger King––but after Virginia banned public contact with certain dangerous wild animals last year after a push by PETA and other advocates, the facility is no longer allowed to force cubs into cruel encounters.

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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