PETA Seeks to Intervene in Tiger King Endangered Species Act Lawsuit

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Inc. (PETA) asked the Eastern District of Oklahoma to allow it to intervene in favor of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by the United States against the Tiger King park, which gained fame through the Tiger King Netflix series, claiming that it has breached various aspects of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

In a brief accompanying its motion, PETA claimed that it has both litigation interests and financial interests in the lawsuit, and is entitled to intervene, so that it can protect its interests. It explained that the United States does not represent its interests in the matter and it should be allowed to pursue the litigation as well. 

The plaintiffs, including Tiger King LLC, Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park LLC, and Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe, were accused of harming, illegally breeding, and not caring properly for rare animals. 

PETA explained, in the brief, that it is a non-profit organization that works to protect animals from abuse, and through that mission it has interacted with the defendants, conducted investigations, and filed separate litigation in multiple states. Additionally, it has sent a notice of intent to sue the defendants and others under the ESA. 

“For years, Defendants have been the hub of a national industry of hands-on interaction between members of the public and exotic animals including lions, tigers, and hybrids thereof. As some of the highest profile exploiters and abusers of animals, including those protected by the (ESA), Defendants’ ongoing operations have significantly impaired PETA’s mission,” the brief said. 

PETA purported that the defendants, through influencing the public to believe that its practices were alright, have led PETA to divert resources to correcting public opinion, including monitoring the defendants, submitting complaints, and publishing content. The intervenor said it is hoping to join this lawsuit for similar reasons. It claimed that it “easily” meets the standards for intervention. 

PETA is represented by Phillips Murrah P.C. The United States is represented by the Department of Justice. The defendants are represented by Daniel Card Law.