Zootastic Cited for Endangering Tiger at Festival

PETA Tip Brings Federal Focus to Reckless Roadside Zoo

For Immediate Release:
January 22, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Mooresville, N.C. – After PETA alerted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to a video posted to Facebook showing Zootastic Park owner Scottie Brown exhibiting an apparently distressed juvenile tiger at a public event, the agency cited the roadside zoo for two violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

The video shows the tiger lying down, unresponsive and panting—behavior that, according to the inspection report that just became publicly available, could be the result of “general exhaustion, heat exhaustion, and/or sedation.” The report further notes that exhibiting a juvenile tiger in this condition “may cause harm to the tiger’s health and well-being.” The USDA also cited Zootastic for exhibiting the 6-month-old, 50-pound tiger on a leash, without any barriers between the animal and the public—placing both in danger. The USDA has previously stated that at four months of age “contact with the public is no longer safe.”

“Tiger cubs are often bred and taken from their mothers so that sleazy outfits like this can force them to pose for photos with the paying public,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA urges kind people to stay away from any cruel and reckless tourist trap that uses sensitive wild animals as selfie props.”

Zootastic’s history of violating the AWA includes failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care, failing to maintain enclosures to prevent injury to the animals, improper handling after a tiger cub bit a member of the public, and failing to have adequately trained employees experienced in animal handling after  a wildebeest charged at an employee, causing major injuries. In 2016, the facility was forced to pay more than $7,000 for animal welfare violations—and it’s also received multiple official warnings from the USDA for a number of issues, including failing to comply with written veterinary programs and operating without a license.

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

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“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