CANCELED: Dirk Arthur’s controversial Vegas magic show featuring abused exotic cats
March 23, 2016 LAS VEGAS, NV—According to the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino ticketing office, Dirk Arthur’s Wild Magic show – the last Las Vegas act featuring exotic animals – has been canceled. Animal Defenders International (ADI) calls the news a welcome victory for the white tigers, snow leopard, panther, and other exotic cats used as props in the controversial show. A local entertainment site, VegasBright, announcedthe show had “abruptly closed” and refunds are being offered to ticket holders.
ADI previously released video of the extreme confinement and environmental deprivation suffered by exotic cats in Dirk Arthur’s Wild Magic show when it opened at the Westgate last year. The exotic cats appear only minutes onstage, but for this endure around six hours a day in tiny travel cages and prop boxes barely larger than their bodies.
When not performing, the animals are warehoused in a series of small cement and chain link cells in Dirk Arthur’s backyard, in a residential area of Las Vegas. The tigers were observed performing abnormal, repetitive, stereotypic behaviors, which experts consider are indicative of stress and poor welfare. (A tiger’s natural range varies from 12 to almost 300 square miles.)
Dirk Arthur’s controversial show has a history of animal welfare violations, and has been condemned by animal care experts and a former Las Vegas animal illusionist. He has been cited numerous times by the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including a 2013 citation for declawing two juvenile tigers and a juvenile lion. Declawing is a painful, often debilitating procedure prohibited by the USDA, that amputates part of each of the cat’s toes and commonly leads to chronic health problems. Arthur has been previously cited for enclosures that are too small to allow cats “normal postural and social adjustments and adequate freedom of movement,” including the ability to exercise. ADI has been urging Westgate to cancel this cruel act.
Jan Creamer, ADI President: “Once the Las Vegas Strip was dominated by acts featuring lions and tigers, but times are changing and the public is turning their back on inhumane entertainment. In recent weeks, we’ve seen indications Cole Bros. Circus may be going animal-free, Ringling Bros. is taking their elephants off the road, and now Vegas is finally rid of these inherently abusive exotic animal acts. Now it is time for Dirk Arthur to retire these cats to a reputable sanctuary.”
With offices in Los Angeles, London, and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe to help animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations, and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing behind-the-scenes suffering in the industry, and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals and educates the public.