UPDATE to this story. PETA tracked me down. See below.

Former Lansing and St.Johns resident Jeff Lowe, who was an integral part of the "Tiger King" documentary series and now owns the zoo featured in the show, has the head of PETA saying she'll shut down the zoo - because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to Fox News, Ingrid Newkirk, the founder and president of PETA says the zoo needs to shut down due to the coronavirus, saying in an interview,

There are hundreds of people lined up to go inside and they are touching baby tiger and lion cubs. We all know that big cats can get coronavirus, so it's just a big mess — but we are intent on closing him down.

Let's see what Jeff has to say about that. Jeff says,

There has not been a recorded death of any tiger, attributed to COVID-19. The United States Department of agriculture is an agency consisting of hundreds of licensed veterinarians, has not issued any warnings advising that public interactions with animals be discontinued. As always, Ingrid believes that she knows more than everyone that actually went to school to become what they are.

 

[UPDATE - after sending this story to our website the first time, I was contacted by PETA. (Not gonna lie - little spooky how fast they found this) They asked me to share news (that counteracts what Jeff said) that the USDA has put out an advisory and says they will advise animal parks to (in part):

"Encourage members of the public to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from big cats and optimally be required to wear a mask when in the vicinity"

Of course, this does only "encourage" the public to distance themselves, but staying 6 feet away would effectively put the kibosh on petting the cubs.]

Jeff Lowe also went on in his interview to accuse PETA of killing up to 90% of the animals in their care. PETA explains that a huge number of animals they take in are in bad shape when they get them and have to be euthanized.

Again, this should be interesting.

Here's the story.