Cancellation of All Spring Performances by Tiger-Abusing Dirk Arthur Prompts PETA Request
For Immediate Release:
March 28, 2016
David Perle 202-483-7382
Las Vegas – He has repeatedly been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for animal-welfare violations—including the painful declawing of two tigers and a lion as well as confining animals to cramped cages in extreme heat—so it’s good news that showman Dirk Arthur has canceled his spring performances at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino because of empty seats, news that prompted PETA to send a letter this morning calling on Westgate CEO David Siegel to bring down the curtain on all animal acts.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that a number of Westgate’s peers in the entertainment industry have had to respond to public disapproval of animal acts: Caesars Entertainment and MGM Grand Las Vegas are ending big-cat displays, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is retiring all elephant acts, and SeaWorld is ending both “Shamu” shows and its captive-orca breeding program.
“Nowadays, a more enlightened public doesn’t want to see acts that exploit lions and tigers and force them to perform silly and uncomfortable stunts,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA wants Westgate to respect animals and keep patrons safe by leaving animal acts off the marquee.”
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino CEO David Siegel follows.
March 28, 2016
David Siegel, CEO
Dear Mr. Siegel:
I am writing on behalf of PETA and its more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Nevada, to ask that Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino pledge to stop hosting animal acts.
It’s 2016, and the public simply doesn’t support the exploitation of animals for human amusement—and your entertainment industry peers are responding. In the last year alone, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that elephants are being removed from its circus performances and SeaWorld promised to stop breeding orcas. Meanwhile, at your own theater, notorious big-cat abuser Dirk Arthur canceled all his spring shows, citing too many empty seats.
More and more, people are recognizing that show business for animals is anything but glamorous. Forcing animals to endure screaming crowds and dizzying lights can cause irreparable psychological and physical harm. According to a trainer who provides tigers for Hollywood productions, conditioning tigers like those trained by Arthur to be submissive is possible only through violence.
Arthur has a long history of violating the Animal Welfare Act, including keeping big cats in metal cages with no protection from the scorching sun when temperatures reached 127 degrees. He was also cited for forcing two tigers and a lion to undergo painful declawing procedures in violation of a long-standing U.S. Department of Agriculture policy. In addition to Arthur’s history of depriving cats of basic necessities, he also has a history of transferring exotic cats to and from other unscrupulous exhibitors.
Elephants don’t belong in the circus, whales don’t belong in tanks, and no animal belongs on the Westgate stage. Caesars Casino agreed never to host Arthur again, and the MGM Grand dismantled its big-cat display. Please, ensure that Westgate is on the right side of history by making the compassionate decision to stop hosting animal acts at your resort and casino. May I please hear from you that you’ve made the kind choice to adopt a policy that bans animal acts at Westgate?
Very truly yours,
Brittany Peet, Esq.
Captive Animal Law Enforcement