AceShowbiz - PETA is pushing for an investigation over Larsa Pippen's visit to Doc Antle's Myrtle Beach Safari. The animal rights organization demands that the U.S. Department of Agriculture launch an investigation into the "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness" star after the former "The Real Housewives of Miami" star posted pictures of her posing with tigers at the zoo.
In a letter sent to the USDA on January 22, Debbie Metzler, PETA's Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement, claims that Larsa posing with the tigers violates the Animal Welfare Act and the USDA's guidance that "direct [public] contact with juvenile and adult felines" doesn't conform to regulations as it poses immense risk to both humans and animals.
She further points out that the USA warned Doc 15 years ago that his methods of photographing the public while having direct contact with the animals were in violation of its policies and requested he discontinue the practice.
Debbie questions why the "USDA has apparently refused to take any meaningful action to prevent Antle from allowing these types of dangerous, direct contact stunts." She additionally argues that such close contact between humans and animals puts the animals at risk for contracting COVID-19.
Responding to the complaint, Doc denies any wrongdoing. He tells TMZ that Larsa visited the zoo to shoot a PSA on wild tiger conservation. He claims that the ex-wife of Scottie Pippen was goofing around with tiger cubs and primates during the visit. He also says that the filming was conducted on a closed set with larger adolescent tigers in a pool, with strict protocols in place that are compliant with USDA guidelines and recommendations.
Larsa took to her Instagram page on January 16 to share photos of her posing with tigers in the pool. "Spent the day w/ some friends @myrtlebeachsafari. Would u guys go swimming w tigers?" the 46-year-old captioned the snaps.
Even before PETA took issue with Larsa's visit to the zoo, the pictures upset her followers. "DO THEM BABY TIGERS HAVE TO BE DECLAWEDDD JUST SO YOU CAN TAKE PICTURES LIKE THIS?!!!!!???" one person angrily demanded an explanation.
"That's cruel those animals belong in the wild," another stated. A third follower argued, "These animals are exploited and abused. No sanctuary would actually breed the tigers. The fact they have infant animals on premise shows they aren't actually trying to save animals, they are perpetuating a vicious cycle of abuse for photo ops and cash."
Another blasted Doc Antle, "Awwww. But PLEASE do not support this place. Animal trafficking. Doc Antle is a SOB." Someone else took issue with the zoo and its handling of wild animals, "They are all wild animals not meant for human interaction. Any place that allows people to handle them is gross and wrong."
Larsa has not responded to the backlash.