Roadside zoos are cruel operations, especially those that allow petting and handling of wild animals, most commonly baby wild animals.
Recently, during an undercover visit to Tiger Safari, a roadside zoo in Tuttle, Oklahoma, our investigator observed a young otter being grossly mishandled and screaming in terror while being used for a “VIP Encounter,” which allows the public to have hands-on contact with various animals. The investigator also saw lemurs, a young kangaroo, a ferret and a fennec fox suffering for the sake of “entertainment.”
Otters, as well as a number of the other animals being used for the public encounter at Tiger Safari, are susceptible to COVID-19, yet Tiger Safari employees were not wearing masks and even discouraged visitors from wearing masks. Just days after the video was taken, the USDA recommended but did not require, that encounters with species susceptible to COVID-19—including otters—be suspended. Yet Tiger Safari continued using the otter.
Otters are one of the latest “fad animals” used by roadside zoos across the country as they stampede to profit from the selfie craze.
The new administration has already promised that it is going to take animal care seriously. It can make good on that promise by ensuring that, at the very least, zoos must are required to discontinue using animals who are susceptible to COVID-19 for public encounters.
Please send a brief, polite message to the USDA. Be sure to edit your message so it stands out.