‘Tiger King’ Is Back: How PETA Dethroned the Series’ Villains

For Immediate Release:
November 10, 2021

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – When Tiger King 2 debuts on Netflix on November 17, viewers will find nearly every animal exhibitor from season one locked up, shut down, or facing lawsuits or criminal charges. And leading the way was PETA’s legal team and PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet, who testified in the trial that got “Joe Exotic” convicted on murder-for-hire and wildlife-trafficking charges, appeared in the show’s first season, and is back for season two. (See her in the trailer here.)

Here are a few highlights from PETA’s successful work to dethrone the Tiger King villains:

  • PETA won a lawsuit against Tim Stark—operator of the Indiana roadside zoo Wildlife in Need, often seen shirtless with a monkey on his shoulder in the first season—establishing the first-ever federal precedent holding that prematurely separating tigers, lions, and tiger-lion hybrids from their mothers, declawing them, or using them in public encounters violates the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
  • As part of PETA’s ESA victory against Stark, PETA and Peet confiscated 25 big cats from him and his former business partner Jeff Lowe (who infamously took over “Joe Exotic’s” business). Meanwhile, the state of Indiana successfully sued Stark and confiscated the remaining animals from his property, and he was arrested after weeks on the run.
  • Relying on the precedent that PETA set in its lawsuit against Stark, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Lowe—and with a warrant based in part on evidence obtained by Peet and PETA’s litigation team, officials seized more than 69 protected big cats from Tiger King Park.
  • “Doc” Antle—the elephant-riding operator of Myrtle Beach Safari, where he employs his multiple romantic partners—was indicted in October 2020 on charges stemming from his alleged involvement in trafficking lions with the owner of a now-defunct roadside zoo from whom Virginia officials seized more than 100 animals after Peet and her team filed complaints with the state.

“With dozens of animals rescued, some of the worst animal exhibitors out of business, and the big-cat cub petting industry almost gone, it’s been a banner year for PETA and a bad year for the Tiger King villains,” says Peet. “PETA hopes that the second season of Tiger King will inspire more people to stay away from roadside zoos and support the much-needed Big Cat Public Safety Act.”

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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