"‘Tiger King’ Fallout Unites PETA, Feds to Fight Cub Petting"

"Netflix’s “Tiger King” burst into a new world of pandemic streaming and gave viewers exotic animals, personal and professional drama, and a man with a mullet’s attempt to launch a political career in Oklahoma.

But years before the theatrics, a legal showdown was brewing between zoo owners featured in the show and animal activist groups that seek to shut down the cub-petting industry with the help of the federal government.

Jeffrey Lowe and Timothy Stark separated endangered tiger cubs from their mothers at too early an age to create photo opportunities with a paying public, according to such groups as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Big cats at Stark’s zoo, Wildlife In Need, were confined in “woefully inadequate enclosures” and declawed in “medically unnecessary procedures,” PETA told the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in 2017. Stark instructed employees to “hit cubs with riding crops,” and told customers to hit the animals if they reacted negatively to public handling, according to the complaint."

Maya Earls reports for Bloomberg Environment April 12, 2021.

Source: Bloomberg Environment, 04/13/2021