Landry's threatened with lawsuit over Downtown Aquarium tigers

HOUSTON - A group is threatening to sue Landry’s over the four tigers kept at Houston’s Downtown Aquarium. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering to find new homes for the tigers at no cost to Landry’s.

If Landry’s declines, the group says it will sue in 60 days.

The group says the tigers’ entire world is limited to a few hundred square feet.

“Landry’s has deprived these four tigers—named Nero, Marina, Coral, and Reef—of any access to sunlight, fresh air, or natural surfaces,” they said in a news released.

“The dungeon-like conditions that the tigers are forced to endure at Houston’s Downtown Aquarium harm their physical health and psychological wellbeing, and deny them much that is natural and important to a tiger,” says renowned big cat veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Conrad. “It is cruel to confine complex, roaming carnivores such as tigers to a tiny, dark, artificial, unenriched enclosure where they never see any daylight, much less bask in sunshine, and are at risk for serious long term, debilitating injuries from being forced to live on slippery, unyielding concrete their entire lives.”

The ALDF says of the more than 100 Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facilities housing tigers in the United States, only one other facility does not have an outdoor exhibit for the tigers: the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, also owned by Landry’s.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund accuses Landry’s of violating the Endangered Species Act, which has protected tigers since 1970.

Landry’s general counsel, Steven L. Scheinthal, issued the following response: 

“We are outraged at the false and manipulative statements of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and its counsel.  Landry’s will not tolerate their libelous and slanderous conduct and will be filing a lawsuit against all such parties.  The Downtown Aquarium has been an AZA accredited institution since it opened its doors in 2003 and has served as an educational experience for thousands of school children since its existence.  Our tigers receive the highest level of care and treatment and have always exhibited the signs of well-maintained animals.  We are aware of the proposed changes to the AZA accreditation standards and once enacted, we will make every effort to comply to the new standards.  If we are unable to make such changes, we will move our tigers to a new home but not to any of the sanctuary facilities suggested by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, as sanctuary facilities have been accused of violating the Animal Welfare Act as well as failing to prevent physical harm, provide adequate food, water, or medical care to their animals.”



(© 2016 KHOU)


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