Marquette Mall urged to cancel exotic animal exhibition
MICHIGAN CITY — The nation’s most vocal animal-rights group is upset with Marquette Mall, and is urging Michigan City officials to take action.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wants to stop the June 27-through-July 1 performances at the mall by animals from G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park.
PETA wants the city to pass an ordinance prohibiting any display, exhibit or event that uses exotic animals. The group says the planned animal exhibit and magic show is dangerous to the public and cruel to animals.
PETA released documents claiming G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park, located in Wynnewood, Okla., was cited by the USDA for violating standards of animal care.
Lisa Wathne, a spokeswoman for PETA, said the group also did its own research at the Oklahoma facility last year.
“We did an undercover investigation at the park that was prompted by problems that were revealed in the USDA inspection report,” Wathne told The La Porte County Herald-Argus.
In a press release from Wathne, PETA claims “an undercover investigator witnessed that a lion was not provided with pain relief following the amputation of the stump of her leg after it was torn off by tigers, that a wounded horse suffered for days with an untreated broken leg before dying and being fed to big cats, that tigers were hit with a rifle butt, and that a goat had an untreated head wound.”
Despite PETA’s objections, mall officials say the show will go on.
Laura Tubbs, general manager of Marquette Mall, issued this statement: “The G.W. Exotic Animal Show was positively received at Marquette Mall both last summer and again during the holiday season, and mall management supports the organization’s anti-drug and stay-in-school messages. Our relationship with the show’s creator, Joe Schreibvogel, has been mutually beneficial. The company, which has been in business for eight years, has assured us of its ethical and humane treatment of its animals.”
Michigan City Council member Pat Boy, D-4th Ward, said she received a letter from PETA but couldn’t comment because she hasn’t had time to research the issue. Boy’s ward includes Marquette Mall.
PETA said it has notified its members in Michigan City of the scheduled events and will assist them should they choose to organize some sort of protest.
The director of the animal park was out of town and unavailable for comment, according to a woman answering phones at the park.
According to its Web site, www.gwpark.org, the animal park was “established in 1999 as a non-profit, no-kill sanctuary for abused and abandoned wildlife.”
The Web site also provides its own set of inspection reports that suggest the Wynnewood, Okla., park met USDA compliance.
Scot Squires, 1-866-362-2167 Ext. 13869 , firstname.lastname@example.org