Will ‘Tiger King’ Make Jena Frumes Swear Off Selfies With Exotic Animals?

PETA Calls On Influencer to Stop Supporting Sham 'Sanctuaries'

For Immediate Release:
April 9, 2020

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – As everyone is watching Netflix’s Tiger King—which exposes the abusive and deadly underworld of exotic-animal exhibitors—PETA sent a letter this morning calling on model Jena Frumes to stop posing with captive animals.

Although Frumes claims to be a wildlife conservationist, she frequently visits and posts photos on Instagram tagging the Zoological Wildlife Foundation and Myrtle Beach Safari, two notorious roadside zoos that are depicted in Tiger King. She also has been known to delete comments pointing out that these facilities breed animals, take the babies away from their mothers, and exploit them for photo ops.

“Anyone who has seen Tiger King knows that animals suffer when they’re used as breeding machines and photo props,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet, who appears in the docuseries. “PETA is calling on Jena Frumes to stop letting these cruel facilities take advantage of her.”

Joseph Maldonado-Passage (aka “Joe Exotic”), the subject of Tiger King, told PETA that Myrtle Beach Safari operator Bhagavan “Doc” Antle puts some tiger cubs who have grown too old for cub-petting events into a gas chamber to kill them. PETA has evidence that Antle sent “aged-out” cubs to a circus trainer. Both Antle and Zoological Wildlife Foundation operator (and former drug kingpin) Mario Tabraue have lengthy histories of federal Animal Welfare Act violations—but they still operate.

PETA has been working for years to shut down facilities like theirs. The group rescued nearly 50 animals from Maldonado-Passage’s custody, all of whom are currently at reputable sanctuaries, and filed two lawsuits against facilities that acquired big-cat cubs from him. PETA recently prevailed in one of these lawsuits, and the last six tigers held at a roadside zoo called Dade City’s Wild Things arrived at an accredited sanctuary last week.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is the human-supremacist worldview that other animals are disposable. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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