Kristin Bauer, the actress who portrays the lovely-but-lethal vampire Pam on HBO’s award-winning True Blood, has teamed with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in their fight to free Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger who has been living in isolation as a “tourist attraction” at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana for the past decade.
Kristin’s video message and call to action about Tony can be viewed at www.aldf.org/tony, where feline-friendly fans can sign a petition to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, urging them to revoke the permit that allows Tony to be exhibited as a roadside spectacle in defiance of state law.
Kristin, a long-time animal advocate, explains, “My character, the vampire Pam on True Blood, fends for herself just fine in her unlikely Louisiana home. But for one wild animal in particular, Louisiana is the last place on earth he belongs.” Tony has spent the last decade at the Tiger Truck Stop, where he is subjected to the stench of fuel and the deafening noise of diesel engines 24-hours a day. Years of living in isolation and confinement have taken their toll on Tony’s health. Day after day, Tony is taunted and harassed by tourists. Instead of basking in the sun and hunting by night, Tony paces his cage — an indicator of extreme stress.
Tony’s confinement is clearly inhumane—but it is also illegal. This morning, ALDF filed a lawsuit in East Baton Rouge against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and its secretary Robert Barham, arguing that they violated state law in granting the permit allowing Tony’s owner to keep and exhibit him at the Tiger Truck Stop. Joining ALDF as a co-plaintiff in the case is former Louisiana Representative Warren Triche, who authored the state’s law which led to the ban on the private ownership of big exotic cats, including tigers.
“One of the big problems for me with zoos, circuses, and Tony, is that there are five or ten minutes when they are viewed, and someone is entertained—but the tiger has to live there his whole life, 24/7, 365 days a year,” says Kristin, who is currently shooting season four of True Blood, which takes place in the fictional Louisiana town of Bon Temps. “It’s incredibly, incredibly unfair. So it’s great to be able to bring more attention to it. I think these things only go on so long because they’re out of view.”
ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit www.aldf.org.
Watch the video here.