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Single Vision in Melrose, Florida, seems to single-mindedly put wild animals in danger. In March 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited the roadside zoo for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), listing 31 examples of dangerous contact between members of the public and bears or big cats after PETA alerted the feds to photographs of a visitor holding a jaguar. In other dangerous interactions, a child swam with lions, bears were “continuously nipping” guests, a visitor touched an adult bear’s muzzle, and a brown bear reached through an enclosure and ripped a pair of glasses off a visitor’s neck.
Then in August 2022, the USDA fined Single Vision $8,850––an action the agency reserves for the country’s worst violators––for 18 alleged AWA violations detailed in a sprawling eight-page citation and notification of penalty document. Among other concerns, the USDA describes animals’ lack of drinkable water, Single Vision’s owner’s lies to and “aggressive and threatening behavior” toward federal authorities, an incident in which a hyena was allowed to roam freely in the owner’s house, fraudulent documentation of a veterinary care program, and failure to provide numerous animals with adequate veterinary care––including two thin geriatric tigers, a limping cougar, a Geoffroy’s cat with hair and eye problems, and an obese jaguar.
Jaguars naturally live near wetlands in the tropical rainforests of South America and are powerful swimmers who can navigate through rivers and hunt aquatic prey animals. At Single Vision, they and other big cats are kept in small, barren cages whose disrepair has resulted in repeated citations by the USDA. Denying these animals the opportunity to fulfil their innate desires is a form of speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.
Please urge Single Vision to end its cruel, unlawful, and dangerous encounters and to send the animals to reputable facilities where they could live in vast, lush habitats and get the care that they deserve.