PETA Statement: USDA’s New Rule Fixes a Fault but Paves the Way for More ‘Tiger Kings’

For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Washington – More than 25 years after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) own Office of Inspector General raised concerns about the USDA’s policy of automatically renewing federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) licenses for even the worst violators—and more than seven years after PETA started suing over the “rubber-stamping” of chronic abusers—the agency has ended this policy. However, PETA is concerned that the USDA’s new licensing rule has, in other ways, made it easier for animal exhibitors to exploit animals. AWA licenses are now less expensive, even longtime licensees have three chances to qualify for licenses, and anyone whose license application is denied can request a lengthy, trial-type hearing—something that is not required by law and that will prolong animal suffering.

Below, please find a statement from PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet:

The USDA should never have rubber-stamped abusers’ licenses, and this new rule preventing that comes on the heels of PETA’s legal challenges to the practice—but now, with the huge decline in federal Animal Welfare Act enforcement, it’s fairly easy for roadside zoos and laboratories to get away with violating federal law. PETA is calling on the USDA to crack down on the “Tiger Kings” of the world, not bend over backwards to accommodate them.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 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