PETA has scored a victory with our Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against notorious animal exhibitor and Tiger King villain Jeff Lowe! The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma found that Lowe “treated the four lions directly involved in this case … with appalling cruelty.” This is the first court decision establishing that Lowe’s treatment of animals was so deficient that it violated the ESA.

Jeff Lowe’s Violations of the ESA

Our lawsuit sought justice for the mistreatment of lion cubs Nala, Kahari, Amelia, and Leo, who were originally in the custody of Jeff Lowe and his former business partner Tim Stark. Stark violated multiple court orders in the case by transporting the four cubs to Lowe’s Wynnewood property, and Kahari died there only days before her scheduled rescue.

The court agreed that Lowe—who had lied about the circumstances of Kahari’s death and left her body outside to decompose beyond the point at which a necropsy could determine its cause—was in fact responsible for the lion’s death. He was also found liable for a number of other violations, including the following:

  • Feeding the cubs a commercial milk replacer that lacked the necessary nutrients found in mothers’ milk and, when they were older, providing rancid, nutrient-deficient meat as their only food source
  • Lacking adequate enclosures, which contributed to gruesome injuries, including a bite wound that required part of Amelia’s paw to be amputated
  • Failing to hire a veterinarian with sufficient training or experience in lion care and failing to treat numerous injuries uncovered by PETA experts
  • Failing to take adequate COVID-19 precautions, including failure to restrict access to animals, a first-of-its kind ruling under the ESA

What You Can Do to Help Big Cats

Pride of lions at Maasai Mara

This court win sends a clear message to other animal exploiters that they will be held accountable for their actions. PETA’s victory against Stark allowed us to rescue the three surviving cubs as well as 22 other big cats.

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