Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) The Central Wisconsin State Fair board will discuss whether or not to move forward with the White Tiger Discovery exhibit scheduled for the fair this August.
Since its announcement in March, the exhibit by All Things Wild has garnered controversy from citizens concerned about the treatment of the white tigers and from animal welfare group The Humane Society of the United States.
“I did a lot of research on them and what animal rights people will bring up is they had a history of animal rights abuse,” said Dale Christiansen, CWSF Executive Director. “From the way it has been explained to me, is that was a certain employee that is no longer with them. Since 2012, since those allegations, they’ve been putting on a very clean show, that has been inspected, looked at, and gotten superior ratings.”
White Tiger Discovery operator Marcus Cook’s USDA license was revoked in February 2012, after which he began exhibiting under the license of Michael Todd. From 2010 to October 2018, Todd was cited by the USDA for 21 animal welfare act violations, including a failure to safely handle big cats during a public exhibition.
The fair has repeatedly cited veterinary review reports which gave All Things Wild superior standards in animal care and condition excepting two instances which rated it above average. These reports were completed four times a year since 2012. They also have stated that the exhibit is subject to health inspections during the fair and that other venues have assured them the animals are given the best treatment.
The Humane Society of the United States has refuted these veterinary review reports, Wisconsin State Director Megan Nicholson saying, “We are unaware of any veterinary reports that ‘rate’ standards of animal care. Indeed, most veterinary certificates – such as those required to transport animals between states – merely verify that an animal is not showing active signs of illness.”
Public comments made during the board meeting at 7 p.m. at the fair office on Monday will be restricted to the public comment period.