A Nevada-based tiger owner has fallen into some pretty hot water following a visit from whirlwind power-couple Cara Delevingne and Michelle Rodriguez. The Big Cat Encounters Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada boasts eight rare tigers, one liger and ten rescued stray dogs, and their website proudly proclaims that the ranch has been “often used as a location for international magazine and rock video shoots.” Noted adorable drunk person Michelle Rodriguez has visited more than once, presumably to make adorable drunk faces with this baby tiger:
It hasn’t been all fun and games at Big Cat Encounters, however. In late January, Rodriguez brought her foxy model girlfriend Cara Delevingne on a trip to the ranch as part of their Leaving Our Pants In Unlikely Places Tour. During their tour, Delevingne Instagrammed a picture of herself kissing a baby tiger named Louise, who is nonchalantly suckling a milk bottle being held by the ranch’s owner, Karl Mitchell. Adorable, right? Best date ever, right?
A month after this photo was taken, animal activists involved with PETA have filed a complaint, citing that Karl Mitchell’s U.S. Department of Agriculture exhibitor license has been permanently revoked since 2001. PETA asked for criminal charges to be filed against Mitchell, who has been fined more than $100,000 and has also lost his conditional permit to house tigers following a series of complaints regarding his abuse of the animals in his care. The allegations range from withholding water from tigers as a training technique, to failing to provide adequate veterinary care. Additionally, the USDA specifically forbids kissing tigers or other similarly dangerous animals when they’re over three months of age, while Louise is clearly at least six months old. Although Louise is adorable, she could have very easily destroyed Cara Delevingne’s face with one playful swipe of a paw. Even if you ignore all of the ethical reasons why visiting an illegally operated and poorly-run big cat sanctuary is a terrible idea, the very real and imminent threat of death should possibly act as some sort of deterrent.
I don’t want to make too many jokes about how clearly Cara Delevingne isn’t afraid to kiss a questionably dangerous young wild animal, so I’m just gonna leave this here. Hey guys, don’t visit that guy’s abusive tiger farm — if given the option, always make out with Miley Cyrus instead, k?
aw… that’s disappointing and really sad to hear :( Although, when I even hear something like “eight rare tigers,” my ears prick up immediately… I wonder do they mean “rare” in the sense that tigers themselves are (very unfortunately) rare, or does that mean rare breeds like white tigers and that sort of thing?
White tigers are rare in the sense that it’s basically a genetic mutation and it’s associated with a lot of health problems. Some people intentionally breed tigers specifically encourage that mutation, which is just incredibly cruel. I have no idea if that kind of thing is part of what’s going on here, but if these people are associated with that stuff… yuck.
Thank you for mentioning this. Many of these exotic animal exhibitioners fool people into believing that white tigers represent some very endangered species (they don’t and most of them are actually hybrids) and that they’re breeding cubs in the name of conservation (they’re actually breeding them to whore out for photo opportunities until they get too old and have to be “disposed” of).
I work with a number of animals rescued from roadside zoos and illegal breeding operations, so it always makes me sad when media outlets treat these kinds of operations as “sanctuaries” and fawn over baby animals who are living terrible lives.
“always make out with Miley Cyrus instead…”
I’d rather take the tiger mauling.
“the USDA specifically forbids kissing tigers or other similarly dangerous animals when they’re over three months of age”
Wait. Really? This is like a law: “No kissing tigers over three months of age?” Who gets to decide these things?
They’re regulations based on safety when it comes to public contact with exotic animals. Exhibitors are not supposed to allow contact with very young cubs (due to the threat of diseases passing human-to-animal or the other way) or older animals (who pose a danger in the bite-your-finger-off realm).
“as part of their Leaving Our Pants In Unlikely Places Tour”
i love you, stef.