Whistleblowers Report Routine Abuse and Neglect at California Menagerie

PETA Urges Feds to Investigate Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation

For Immediate Release:
February 11, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Oroville, Calif. – Based on whistleblowers’ reports that Roberta Kirshner, operator of Oroville-based Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation, routinely beats and punches animals and denies them critical veterinary care, PETA has filed a complaint calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to investigate the menagerie for violations of the Endangered Species Act. PETA has also alerted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the abuse and neglect, and the agency has launched an investigation.

According to the whistleblowers, Kirshner has habitually failed to provide animals with veterinary care and even allowed several members of the public to pick up a lion cub named Samson while he was suffering from broken bones. Kirshner allegedly hit animals repeatedly, including a tiger and a bear cub, and ordered a volunteer to punch a clouded leopard until the animal’s nose bled. In another incident, a volunteer reports finding a tiger dying and called Kirshner, who went into her cage and forced a running hose into her mouth. She reportedly received no veterinary care and died shortly thereafter.

“Menageries such as Kirshner’s prey on well-intentioned people who want to help animals—and that’s why PETA encourages everyone to stay far away from any facility that exploits animals for profit, including by offering photo ops with stressed-out baby animals,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the government to hold this despicable facility accountable for any and all violations of federal law that it has committed.”

For more information, please visit PETA’s blog.

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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