Success: Zookeeper Accused of Whipping Tiger Charged with Animal Cruelty

Target: Jennifer Bluhm, Senior Inspector of the Ontario SPCA

Goal: Applaud investigation and charging of zookeeper accused of whipping Siberian tiger and other acts of cruelty.

Bowmanville Zoo owner Michael Hackenberger, who owns and trains animals exploited for show business, has been charged with cruelty to animals by the Ontario SPCA. The charges come on the heels of an undercover investigation conducted by PETA, in which Hackenberger was allegedly caught on camera viciously whipping a young Siberian tiger named Uno. The abuse reportedly occurred during a so-called “training session,” illustrating the kind of suffering endured by animals used by the entertainment industry.

PETA released the graphic video in December, provoking a strong public reaction. People all around the world were outraged. A number of petitions, like this one on ForceChange, demanded that Hackenberger be investigated for his alleged extreme cruelty.

Unsurprisingly, the incident was not Hackenberger’s first foray into animal abuse. Last year he incurred similar public backlash when, on live television, he allegedly verbally abused a baboon for failing to perform a trick.

According to, the five charges filed against Hackenberger include, “causing an animal to be in distress by striking the animal with a whip handle; causing an animal distress by repeatedly striking the animal with a whip; causing an animal to be in distress by striking the animal in the face with a whip; causing an animal distress by pushing his thumb into the animal’s eye; and failing to comply with the prescribed standards of care for such an animal.”

If found guilty, Hackenberger faces up to $60,000 in fines, two years in jail and a lifelong ban on owning animals. He has reportedly stepped down from his position at Bowmanville Zoo in order to contest the charges.

This is good news for those of us who agree that non-human animals have a right to live their lives without undue pain and suffering. Please sign the below petition, thanking the Ontario SPCA for investigating this matter and charging a notorious animal abuser.


Ms. Bluhm,

I am writing to thank you and your organization for investigating and charging Bowmanville Zoo owner Michael Hackenberger, who was reportedly caught on camera torturing a Siberian tiger with a whip. As you know, many people were outraged by the video and demanded justice for the brutalized animal.

It is comforting to know that there are people such as yourself who are dedicated to ensuring that non-human animals are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. I hope the charges you filed against Hackenberger will serve as a warning to other animal abusers that this disgraceful behavior will not go unpunished.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ontario SPCA

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  1. Lawren Rudley Lawren Rudley says:

    He does not deserve oxygen. Evil disgusting waste of life

  2. Sara Smith says:

    Hope we’re kept informed of what punishment he gets. Whatever it is, it’ll be less than he deserves.

  3. Amar Taggarh says:

    Canada is a haven for animal abusers. This asshole sends them off to Hollywood after he “trains” them. The same abuse would not be allowed in the U.S.A. yet in Canada these scumbags get nothing but a slap in the wrist. I am ashamed to be Canadian.

  4. Gerard FABIANO says:


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