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A Massive Hit

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While we're all staying inside to help flatten the curve of coronavirus spread, everyone is hitting Netflix pretty hard for distraction and entertainment. Everyone on social media has been losing their collective minds over the recently released Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, a seven part docuseries about a man named Joe Exotic and his roadside zoo.

The series is a lurid look into the abuse that happens to animals at these kinds of "attractions," and PETA (People the the Ethical Treatment of Animals) responded to the success of the series by putting its stars on blast online.

PETA Responds

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In a lengthy post on their website, PETA revealed that they had rescued several animals from Exotic over the years:

"PETA and our supporters campaigned for years to help animals abused by Joe Exotic. Before his ultimate conviction, PETA helped rescue 39 tigers, three bears, two baboons, and two chimpanzees from the hellhole roadside zoo that he ran. ALL of them are now thriving at reputable sanctuaries."

They continued, explaining that they had been following Exotic for years.

"Maldonado-Passage—aka “Joe Maldonado,” “Joe Schreibvogel,” and, of course, “Joe Exotic”—has been in PETA’s sights for years. He is a notorious animal abuser and was once the primary supplier of big-cat cubs used for the cruel cub-petting industry. The world will be a safer place for everyone with this man behind bars, where he can no longer harm animals or the animal advocates he threatened."

They've Been After Joe Exotic For Years

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PETA criticized Netflix as well, pointing out that Tiger King didn't focus much on the abuse the animals suffered at the hands of the people onscreen. However, they did praise the series for showing the absolute insanity of the people behind these zoos.

"Roadside zoos and other tourist traps that exploit lions, tigers, and other animals are often even worse than Tiger King lets on. However, the series does a good job of accurately portraying animal exhibitors—including Joe Exotic, Jeff Lowe of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park (G.W. Zoo), Bhagavan “Doc” Antle of Myrtle Beach Safari, and Tim Stark of Wildlife in Need—as exploiters and abusers who would do anything to keep the money coming in.

Ultimately, Tiger King focuses mostly on the battle between animal rights activist Carole Baskin (the CEO of accredited wildlife sanctuary Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida) and Joe Exotic. The series largely skips over serious issues of animal welfare, including the horrors of cub trafficking and the problems with commercial cub-petting attractions."

A Change Of Heart For Joe?

Giphy | NETFLIX

PETA also highlighted that Joe Exotic was feeling regret by the end of the series. He is currently serving a 22 year prison sentence for two counts of murder-for-hire and 17 other crimes, and his time behind bars may have caused him to reconsider his business.

"By the end of the series, Joe Exotic seems to have a revelation, stating that he feels that he denied chimpanzees their right to be chimpanzees by holding them captive. Spending time in a jail cell led him to reflect that animals die when they’re held in cages because their souls die."

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