Elkhart, IN – July 5, 2011 – Concord Mall in Elkhart, Indiana is allowing a group that incessantly breeds and exhibits tiger cubs for profit to display their cubs at the mall from July 6 -10.
The group, which exhibits throughout the Midwest under various names, is calling themselves Big Cat Rescue Entertainment while in Elkhart. Big Cat Rescue Entertainment is NOT to be confused with Tampa, Florida-based Big Cat Rescue, the largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats.
Oklahoma-based Big Cat Rescue Entertainment uses the almost identical name in order to dupe and confuse the public. In fact, Big Cat Rescue has filed a Federal intellectual property lawsuit to stop this group from using its name. “Big Cat Rescue Entertainment is a group of unscrupulous breeders of big cats, especially tigers, who travel the country displaying tiger cubs at malls and offering the mall’s customers – for a fee of about $25 – the opportunity to pet the cubs and have a photo taken with them, “explained Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue sanctuary and a nationally recognized expert on the plight of exotic cats.
“These breeders often promote their “pay to play with cubs” scheme under the guise of providing consumers with education about the plight of exotic cats. But the truth is they are exhibiting the cubs only to make money.”
Without knowing the facts, seeing children pet cute tiger cubs seems adorable and innocent. But in reality these cubs endure a miserable existence while they are on display and then are destined, in most cases, to a life sentence in deplorable conditions or are killed as part of the billion-dollar illegal trade in tiger parts.
Big Cat Rescue contacted Concord Mall General Manager Robert Thatcher last week. Thatcher said he is “satisfied with the group that brings in the cubs” and has “done his own research” to determine if there is abuse. But if Thatcher had contacted the USDA, the governmental body that oversees exotic animal displays, he would have found that this Oklahoma group is currently under investigation for the deaths of 23 tiger cubs just last year. And the group has been investigated and fined for numerous violations over the years.
“We are deeply concerned that Concord Mall and its management company, Triyar, do not care about the safety of their patrons or about the abuse these tiny, defenseless animals are forced to endure,” said Baskin. “More and more malls across the country are banning these cub displays as they learn about the abuse to the animals. And research shows that mall patrons are disgusted by these exhibits and will not continue to shop at malls that host them. It is truly a shame that Concord Mall and its management company insist upon allowing animal abuse at their mall.”
About Big Cat Rescue: Located in Tampa, Fla., Big Cat Rescue is the largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. The nonprofit organization is accredited by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries, is certified by Independent Charities of America as a “Best in America Charity,” and has received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for sound non-profit fiscal management. The sanctuary is home to more than 100 exotic big cats. For more information, visit www.bigcatrescue.org.