Canadian Zookeeper Resigns After Cruelty Charges

Zoo director provided animals for Hollywood movies such as Life of Pi and Billy Madison.


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Canadian zookeeper Michael Hackenberger declared his resignation on social media after an animal-cruelty lawsuit was filed against him by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). In the suit, the organization points to a 2015 video in which the zookeeper was seen whipping a Siberian tiger before saying, “I like hitting him in the face … the beauty of the paws being on the rock when you hit him is that it’s like a vise.” Hackenberger was director of the Bowmansville Zoological Park and regularly contracted out animals such as tigers and elephants for Hollywood blockbusters such as Life of Pi and Billy Madison. Fortunately, more people are becoming aware of the cruelty behind using animals for entertainment as evidenced by the ban of circuses in 29 countries and producer Jon Favreau’s decision to use computer-generated imagery (CGI) instead of animals in his remake of The Jungle Book.

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