Roadside Zoo Shipped Unweaned Leopard Cubs Across the Country, PETA Says

Living Treasures Wild Animal Park Has Ugly History of Inadequate Care, Putting Big Cats at Risk of Malnutrition and Death

For Immediate Release:
October 15, 2015

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

New Castle, Pa. – This morning, PETA sent a letter calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate Living Treasures Wild Animal Park, a roadside zoo in New Castle, for apparent violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. This summer, Living Treasures reportedly separated unweaned 4-day-old leopard cubs from their mother and shipped them to Wildlife & Environmental Conservation, Inc., in California—which PETA is asking the USDA to investigate as well—in a business venture. This move is something that wildlife veterinarians condemn, as it would needlessly subject the cubs to severe stress and human handling, deprive them of the nutrients they get from nursing, and risk their exposure to zoonotic diseases.

As PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes in its letter, Living Treasures has a history of prematurely separating leopard cubs from their mothers that dates as far back as 2006, when a cub died from an injury, apparently as the result of weak bone density caused by malnutrition.

“Days-old leopard cubs should be with their mothers, not caged up and shipped across the country to make someone a buck,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is asking authorities to hold this deplorable roadside zoo accountable for repeatedly risking fragile cubs’ lives.”

Living Treasures has previously been found transferring animals to shoddy facilities that have allowed animals to suffer and die from apparent inadequate care and, in one case, even a violent attack. In 2009, the facility sent a 4-week-old tiger to Plumpton Park Zoo in Maryland. The tiger suffered from metabolic bone disease and anemia caused by a poor diet and was heavily infested with fleas. He died months later after ingesting plastic materials, which should never have been within his reach. In 2012, Living Treasures transferred two 4-month-old tigers to another notorious exhibitor, Tim Stark, in Indiana. Two weeks later, Stark found one of the leopards dead from suspected metabolic bone disease and killed the other a few days later with a baseball bat. He never sought veterinary care for either animal.

PETA’s letter is available here. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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“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