State Cracks Down on ‘Tiger Selfie’ Operator

PETA Blows Whistle on Wild World of Animals Exhibitor in Washington County for Allowing Direct Public Contact With Big Cats

For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Eighty Four, Pa. – In response to a complaint made by PETA, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has cited Eighty Four–based Wild World of Animals exhibitor Grant Kemmerer for five violations of state wildlife laws, including three violations of New York’s so-called “tiger selfie” law for allowing members of the public to have direct contact with tigers and a lion during parties at a private residence in Melville, New York, in 2016 and 2017. The agency fined Kemmerer a total of $7,300 for the violations.

“Grant Kemmerer is being held accountable for hauling sensitive big cats around like party favors and forcing them to interact with guests,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA urges everyone to avoid operations that sell these harmful exotic-animal encounters.”

PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” notes that big-cat encounters fuel the captive-tiger overpopulation crisis, as facilities regularly breed tigers and then tear the cubs away from their mothers—sometimes within hours of birth—to be handled by streams of people. Once they’re too old to be profitable in this way, the tigers are often left to languish in small cages in backyards, basements, and roadside zoos or are killed.

In 2017, Tinder responded to the crisis by banning user photos with big cats, and PETA has lawsuits pending against operators that offer encounters with big-cat cubs in Florida and Indiana, where the group recently won the first-ever preliminary injunction preventing a roadside zoo from prematurely separating cubs from their mothers and using them in photo ops.

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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