Sales of Fragile Animals by CBL & Associates Face PETA Challenge

Shareholders at Annual Meeting to Be Confronted With Questions Over Shopping Malls’ Deals With Exotic-Animal Exhibitors, Irresponsible ‘Pocket Pet’ Peddlers

For Immediate Release:
May 2, 2014

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

Chattanooga, Tenn.

Despite numerous complaints from PETA and members of the public about the company Pocket Pets—which sells fragile sugar gliders to customers who are typically unprepared to provide the care that these fragile animals need to survive—CBL & Associates Properties continues to allow it to set up pop-up kiosks in CBL’s shopping malls throughout the Southeast and Midwest. So at CBL’s annual meeting in Chattanooga on May 5, the company will have to respond when a PETA representative asks why CBL is the only major shopping mall management group in the U.S. that has not stopped hosting Pocket Pets—and why, despite telling PETA in 2005 that it would no longer allow exotic-animal exhibitors, CBL has also recently allowed animal circuses to perform on its properties:

When:    Monday, May 5, 4 p.m.

Where:  Embassy Suites, 2321 Lifestyle Way, Chattanooga

“By allowing Pocket Pets to sell sugar gliders as trinkets to shoppers who don’t have a clue about how to care for them properly, CBL & Associates is signing off on these tiny animals’ suffering and early deaths,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on CBL to stop hosting businesses that cause animal suffering, and that includes circuses that beat animals as well as the irresponsible exotic-animal peddlers.”

As PETA has pointed out in its letters to CBL, kiosks such as Pocket Pets sell sugar gliders—tiny nocturnal tree-dwellers—to customers who purchase them on a whim. Very few of these customers have the knowledge required to meet these animals’ specialized needs or the dedication to commit to a lifetime of care, and the sugar gliders frequently end up confined to small cages, overly or roughly handled, fed improper diets, and forgotten when the novelty wears off.

One of the circuses that CBL has hosted is Cole Bros., which has a long history of repeatedly violating the federal Animal Welfare Act. Cole Bros. leases its animal acts from outside companies such as Carson & Barnes, whose handlers were caught on video beating and electrically shocking elephants. Simon Property Group, the largest mall property owner in the country, banned both wild-animal exhibitors and Pocket Pets kiosks after learning about these issues from PETA.

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