Chantelle Houghton: ‘I Don’t Support Joe Exotic or Anyone Else Who Exploits Big Cats’

For Immediate Release:

15 April 2020


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 222; [email protected]


TV Star Opens Up About ‘Surreal’ Tiger King Appearance 

London – “[S]eeing a photo of myself featured in Netflix’s widely viewed documentary Tiger King is almost as surreal to me as the events exposed by the series,” writes Chantelle Houghton of her cameo appearance in the series. “I hope it goes without saying, but let me make it perfectly clear: I don’t support Joe Exotic or anyone else who exploits big cats.”

In a column for OK! Magazine, Houghton – a long-time PETA supporter – notes that exhibitors like Joe Exotic breed animals for financial gain and sentence them to a lifetime of exploitation and deprivation.

She also points out that Joe Exotic was the primary supplier of animals to the cruel cub-petting industry – for which baby animals, some only hours old, are torn from their mothers so that they can be used as photo props or playthings by paying customers. Houghton says, “As a mum, I’m heartbroken at the thought of this wrenching separation. Mother tigers are as fiercely protective of their babies as human mothers are – but there’s little they can do to stop their little ones from being forcibly taken away from them.”

Houghton goes on to urge readers not to contribute to big cat exploitation. “If you were gobsmacked by Tiger King, remember: you can make a difference. Never visit sleazy roadside zoos, go to wild-animal circuses, or participate in ‘encounters’ or photo ops with wild animals,” she says.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – notes that Tiger King also features notorious animal exhibitors “Doc” Antle, Tim Stark, Jeff Lowe, and others who breed animals for profit, separate babies from their mothers, and deprive them of everything that’s natural and important to them. Many are still operating, despite criminal rap sheets and lengthy histories of violating the US Animal Welfare Act.

PETA US has been working for years to shut down facilities that exploit wild animals. The group rescued nearly 50 animals who were in Joe Exotic’s custody, all of whom are currently at reputable sanctuaries.

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